SEATAC, Wash. — Seattle-Tacoma International Airport has announced several new services aimed at making air travel more accessible to all.
On Monday, Sea-Tac will launch a sunflower lanyards pilot program to better cater to the needs of those with hidden disabilities.
The program is the first of its kind in the United States.
Sunflower lanyards, first used at the Gatwick International Airport in London, indicate that the individual wearing it has a hidden disability like PTSD, diabetes, autism, and hearing loss, among other things.
It's not always easy for people with hidden disabilities to ask for help.
Some passengers can feel like they will be judged if they ask for help from airport staff. It can also be frustrating trying to explain symptoms that can't be seen to others.
The bright colors of the lanyards allow airport staff to easily and discreetly identify passengers who may need extra assistance.
Program participation is completely voluntary.
Passengers can request free sunflower lanyards at a Port of Seattle customer service desk or speak to an airport Pathfinder in a teal uniform.
Sea-Tac is also piloting a hearing loop project that improves the clarity of sound for passengers with T-coil hearing aids, cochlear implants and hearing instruments.
This can be helpful in areas where there is background noise, such as a gate holdroom. Hearing loop induction systems are available at select locations at the airport, including Alaska Airlines, Delta Air Lines and jetBlue ticketing and service counters, gates and baggage claim.
Passengers can request this service from airline customer service representatives.
The airport has also installed more accessible dining tables and charging stations in the newly opened south end of the Central Terminal.
An adult changing table has been placed in the family restroom as part of the modernization of North Satellite. Additional adult changing tables are included in future projects.