Thanks to a new initiative, travellers with autism, dementia, down syndrome, and other invisible disabilities can now have a stress-free journey through Singapore’s Changi Airport.
There is a new programme at the airport to make travel more accessible for people with invisible disabilities.
The airport has implemented a configurable step-by-step map of the airport and staff members who are trained to recognize the specific identification lanyards to facilitate travellers.
The Changi Airport Social Story, an educational and downloadable tool for caregivers of people with invisible disabilities, has also been developed by the airport to help them better understand the various processes they will encounter when they arrive at their destination.
The airport journey from check-in to boarding is laid out in an easy-to-follow step-by-step guide. Passengers and caregivers can use the social story’s images to walk through the pre-flight routine.
Lanyards can be worn by those with invisible disabilities who prefer a more discrete process of indicating their impairments. Airport workers have been trained to detect these lanyards and offer further assistance, such as allowing additional time for these passengers to complete a procedure or helping them through airport processes.
Personnel at Changi Airport who wear the gold Care Ambassador pin show their support for passengers who have disabilities that cannot be seen. A dedicated group of frontline personnel, dubbed Changi Care Ambassadors, has been trained by RCTC to help passengers with special needs. There are already 300 frontline personnel from various passenger touchpoints in Changi trained; they plan to introduce more in the coming months.
It’s 2022, and everyone everywhere should have use to accessible travel. When I say accessible, I don’t just mean airports; planes should be accessible as well because the truth is that they aren’t truly accessible, which could be very discouraging for people with disabilities.
Singapore Changi Airport deserves kudos for constantly improving its services to all travellers; they are great role models. Airlines still have a long way to go in improving the accessibility of their aeroplanes and on-board facilities, but this should not be a deterrent because, eventually, all it takes is a few fundamental changes for airlines to make that happen.