Turkish Airlines is launching a program to make travel more accessible for those with hidden disabilities.
Anyone who identifies as someone with an unseen disability (for example, chronic pain or illnesses, diabetes, dementia, autism, brain injuries, ADHD, dyslexia, joint issues, mental illness, or sleep disorders, among others) will be provided with a lanyard decorated with sunflowers, the globally recognized symbol for nonvisible disabilities.
The lanyard is meant to give cabin crew and ground service personnel a subtle heads-up that the passenger may require additional support during their travels, ranging from help navigating the terminal to more time boarding and disembarking, without drawing attention to the hidden disability. The airline hopes the move will create a more accessible and comfortable travel experience with less stress for the passengers.
In a press release, Turkish Airlines CEO Bilal Ekşi said the Sunflower Lanyard Project was crafted to “remove the barrier before the clouds.”
Hidden Disabilities Association CEO Paul White said, “We are delighted that Turkish Airlines have joined the Hidden Disabilities Sunflower global network. Delivering our training to 17,000 staff is an incredible achievement that shows the airline’s commitment to making aviation accessible. Passengers with nonvisible disabilities can travel to 129 countries with Turkish Airlines, secure in the knowledge that the airline staff will greet them with kindness, patience, and understanding.”
The lanyards will be available at Turkish Airlines counters located in the domestic and international terminals of Istanbul Airport.