Travelers with autism, dementia, down syndrome, and other invisible disabilities can now experience a supportive and stress-free environment when going through Singapore’s Changi Airport. 

The airport has launched an initiative to welcome those with invisible disabilities in order to have an inclusive travel experience for every traveler.

The initiatives include a customisable step-by-step airport guide, being alert to special identifying lanyards, as well as having a pool of staff trained in identifying them, so passengers can get help more easily and discreetly. 

Changi Airport said in a press release that the initiatives were developed in collaboration and consultation with educators from Rainbow Centre Training and Consultancy (RCTC), a group that works with persons with disabilities to make the most of their abilities and participate meaningfully in society.

The airport also developed the ‘Changi Airport Social Story’, an informative and downloadable tool to be used by caregivers to familiarize persons with invisible disabilities with the various processes before they reach their destination.

It includes a step-by-step guide that outlines the entire airport journey from check-in to boarding in a way that is easy to understand. Passengers and caregivers can go through the processes using the pictures in the social story during their pre-flight preparation.

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image source: changiairport.com

Those who prefer a more discreet way of indicating their invisible disabilities may opt to wear specially-designed lanyards. Airport staff have been trained to identify these lanyards and to come forward to offer additional support, such as allowing more time for these passengers to complete a particular procedure or guiding them through airport processes.  

Passengers with invisible disabilities are also supported by Changi Airport staff with the gold Care Ambassador pin. Known as Changi Care Ambassadors, these frontline staff have undergone training with RCTC and are equipped with the skill sets to assist passengers with special needs. There are currently over 300 frontline staff from various passenger touch points in Changi that have been trained, with more to follow in the coming months. 

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image source: changiairport.com

“Navigating unfamiliar places and procedures while catching a flight can be stressful, especially for passengers whose disabilities may not be immediately apparent. We worked closely with experts and sought feedback from the community on how we could better support their needs at the airport,” Vice President of Changi Airport Group’s passenger experience, ground operations and customer service Damon Wong said in a statement.

“The initiatives aim to improve the overall travel experience for passengers with invisible disabilities and we hope it makes the airport a more comfortable and accessible place for them.”