With concerted efforts to further enhance support services for travellers with hidden disabilities including Autism, Emirates has rolled out specialised training to more than 24,000 global cabin crew to ensure passenger comfort onboard.
The online course was first launched in 2022 and covers recognising autism, practical tips on how to assist passengers with hidden disabilities, responding with empathy, and information on the official support systems to help passengers in the airport.
Autism spectrum disorder is a neurological and developmental disorder that affects how people interact with others, communicate, learn, and behave. Known as a spectrum disorder because there are wide variations in the types and severity of symptoms people experience, a range of sensory needs can occur.
Emirates supports passengers with hidden disabilities by providing as much information in advance as possible, so that families can plan, rehearse, and be reassured about their upcoming travel.
Passengers who declare a hidden disability will be facilitated as much as possible in the complimentary selection of suitable seats, for example the bulkhead seats at the front and middle of the aircraft for both the autistic passenger and their companion.
Collect the Hidden Disabilities Sunflower Lanyard
The Hidden Disabilities Sunflower is a globally recognised symbol for hidden disabilities. Emirates staff with Sunflower pins are easily identifiable and specially trained to assist travellers with hidden disabilities.
Passengers are encouraged to declare their hidden disability to these staff and collect a Sunflower Lanyard to wear or bring their own from home, allowing for support throughout the airport journey.
Autism Friendly Route
The Autism Friendly Route through Dubai International Airport (DXB) ensures that People of Determination (POD) can move through the airport with a dedicated route. It includes access to priority lanes for check-in, passport control, security and boarding; and can be availed when wearing the sunflower lanyard. Specially trained staff equipped to support POD travellers will be easily identifiable wearing sunflower pins, allowing for increased visibility, communication and support throughout the airport journey.
If the customer, child or family member informs Emirates cabin crew about a light sensitivity, cabin crew can turn off the passenger’s individual light, close the window blind after take-off, and explain that the cabin lights will be dimmed as soon as the meal services are completed.