Newcastle International Airport has announced a new scheme to help passengers with hidden disabilities, which affects 11% of the UK population, navigate the northeast’s aviation hub.
Hidden disabilities, often referred to as ‘invisible disabilities’, is a catch-all term describing a vast range of mental and physical handicaps, often neurological in nature. It includes, but is not limited to, fibromyalgia, diabetes, renal failure, bipolar disorder, rheumatoid arthritis, lupus, and depression – with symptoms such as extreme fatigue, vertigo, pain, and cognitive impairments.
Though not necessarily apparent to observers, hidden disabilities can huge issues when travelling, affecting an individual’s mobility and ability to get around, an issue compounded in the busy and environment of an airport, which can often be overwhelming when passing through the stresses of check-in and immigration.
By issuing a hidden disabilities lanyard Newcastle International staff will be able to recognise members of the public who may need further assistance and respond accordingly.
“The lanyard will ensure our staff are able to offer help and assistance to all those that need it”
Tara Hurst, ambassador supervisor at Newcastle International, said: “According to CAA research, 7% of all British people are potentially avoiding air travel because of a hidden disability, which is very concerning for us. At Newcastle Airport, we recognise the importance holidays, travelling to visit family and friends, and travelling for business can have on wellbeing and so we hope that the introduction of the hidden disabilities lanyard will encourage more people to fly in the future.
“The hidden disabilities lanyard will ensure our staff are able to offer help and assistance to all those that need it, reassuring passengers and creating a positive experience that we hope will encourage return customers.”
Available free of charge upon request from the airport’s special assistance desks, the hidden disabilities lanyard is also expected to be rolled out at other airports across the UK.