Virgin Atlantic helps those with hidden disabilities overcome travel challenges
by Traveleads | February 15, 2019 | Latest News On The Ground
A hidden disabilities initiative is being introduced by Virgin Atlantic. It includes the creation of a bookmark and pin badge which are designed with a specific symbol in which Virgin Atlantic staff will instantly recognise. This is to ensure that the airline provides extra assistance to those who may need it without having to ask.
Hidden disabilities may not be instantly recognisable but can significantly impact a person’s life and often means that the process of preparing for a flight can prove to be a stressful situation.
Currently 22% of the UK population has a disability. One study found that of those who identified as having a disability, 74% had a disability that is hidden. Although not everyone with a disability flies this means many people may be travelling in discomfort or avoiding travelling due to the stress that flying may create.
Hidden disabilities include conditions such as dementia, autism, learning disabilities, anxiety issues, mental health impairments and hearing loss, according to the CAA, which set out guidance for airports to improve the way they help these passengers three years ago.
Ultimately, the Virgin Atlantic Special Assistance team can provide support I numerous ways such as arrange for travellers to be escorted through the airport, have access to priority boarding and reserve seating where necessary. On-board, the team can also ensure than in-flight entertainment is provided for blind passengers, with some crew also trained in sign language (Sign language trained crew need to be pre-booked.)
Geraldine Lundy, Passenger Accessibility Manager at Virgin Atlantic says, “We are committed to giving all customers easier access to travel. The Hidden Disabilities scheme is one of a series of initiatives that Virgin Atlantic is planning on introducing over the coming years, to help those with disabilities overcome any key challenges they may face. ”
To download and print off the bookmark click here
Once printed, simply slip it into your passport or take a photo of the symbol with your phone and show it to the Virgin Atlantic staff along the way.
Alternatively, you can pick up a pin badge to wear from any of the Virgin Atlantic desks at the airport.