March 4th, 2024

Air Canada rolls out measures for travellers with hidden disabilities

By The Canadian Press on January 30, 2024.

Air Canada is adopting a program to help better serve travellers with non-visible disabilities. The airline says it is taking part in the Hidden Disabilities Sunflower program. An Air Canada jet is moved on the tarmac at the airport, Wednesday, Nov.15, 2023 in Vancouver. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld

MONTREAL – Air Canada says it is adopting measures to better serve travellers living with non-visible disabilities.

Dubbed the Hidden Disabilities Sunflower program, the effort allows customers to wear a sunflower lanyard that indicates to staff they may need extra assistance or have specific needs.

The move falls under Air Canada’s three-year accessibility plan, and comes after numerous reports of passenger mistreatment last year, including an incident where a man with spastic cerebral palsy was forced to drag himself off of an airplane due to a lack of help.

In November, CEO Michael Rousseau apologized for the carrier’s accessibility shortfalls and announced he would speed up its accessibility scheme along with fresh measures to improve the travel experience for hundreds of thousands of passengers living with a disability.

The airline says the sunflower lanyard will be available at check-in counters at multiple airports across Canada and on board all Air Canada flights.

The carrier says it is working to train employees and build awareness so they can recognize and respond appropriately to participating customers.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 30, 2024.

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