Fort Wayne, Ind. – Fort Wayne International Airport (FWA) has launched the Hidden Disabilities Sunflower Program in the terminal building. FWA has introduced this program to align with its dedication to delivering excellent customer service to our passengers, as well as a commitment to expanding accessibility programs and services.
The Hidden Disabilities Sunflower Program aims to assist those traveling with invisible disabilities who may need a little extra patience, care, and explanation during their travel experience. The goal of implementing this program is to bring awareness to those with hidden, or invisible, disabilities and to remind airport staff to exercise extra compassion and empathy when working with these passengers and their families. These invisible disabilities may include autism, epilepsy, low vision or hearing loss, PTSD, dementia, depression, asthma, chronic pain, anxiety disorders, brain injuries, and more. All airport staff within the terminal building, as well as the Airport Authority, have been trained on how to recognize and engage with these passengers.
“At FWA we are committed to delivering excellent customer service to every person that passes through our terminal building,” said Scott Hinderman, Executive Director of Airports. “This commitment is extended through how we treat those of all abilities. As we continue to make strides in accessibility and inclusion here at the airport, we are thrilled to introduce the Hidden Disabilities Sunflower Program to our passengers and community.”
FWA is the first airport in Indiana to introduce the Hidden Disabilities Sunflower Program. Passengers wishing to participate do not have to discuss the details of their disability to take part in the program. A green box containing special sunflower products will be located at the FWA Welcome Center including green sunflower bracelets, pins, and lanyards. Passengers may choose which product they prefer to use.
“AWS Foundation commends Fort Wayne International Airport on its quest to make traveling more supportive and accessible,” said Patti Hays, CEO of AWS Foundation. “The Hidden Disabilities Sunflower Program is an excellent way to support those with a variety of hidden disabilities in a discreet and respectful manner. Congratulations to Fort Wayne International Airport on becoming the first airport in Indiana to launch this beneficial program.”
The Hidden Disabilities Sunflower program began in the United Kingdom at Gatwick Airport near London in 2016. It has since grown across Europe and to over thirty U.S. airports and growing. The Hidden Disabilities Sunflower Program can also be found in 4 airports with non-stop service from FWA – Charlotte Douglas International Airport (CLT), Detroit Metro Airport (DTW), Minneapolis-Saint Paul International Airport (MSP), and Orlando Sanford International Airport (SFB). More information can be found at fwairport.com/accessibility.