How Dubai Airports will make travel more accessible for people of determination

The goal is to make DXB one of the most accessible airports in the world by 2025

by

Angel Tesorero

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Eman Al Suwaidi, Head — Government Agenda at Dubai Airports, speaks at the 4th Accessible Travel and Tourism International Conference in Dubai on Thursday. KT Photo: Angel Tesorero
Eman Al Suwaidi, Head — Government Agenda at Dubai Airports, speaks at the 4th Accessible Travel and Tourism International Conference in Dubai on Thursday. KT Photo: Angel Tesorero

Published: Fri 12 Jan 2024, 6:00 AM

Last updated: Tue 30 Jan 2024, 9:35 AM

Passengers of determination, particularly those with hearing and visual difficulties, can look forward to new technologies that Dubai International Airport (DXB) is exploring that will make their lives easier when travelling in and out of the country.

Speaking at the 4th Accessible Travel and Tourism International Conference in Dubai on Thursday, Eman Al Suwaidi, Head — Government Agenda at Dubai Airports, said they will explore innovations at various passenger touchpoints for people of determination (PoD) with hearing difficulties and another innovation for the visually-impaired.

Al Suwaidi underscored the goal is to make DXB one of the most accessible airports in the world by 2025. “We are committed to make travel accessible and seamless to everyone by improving our infrastructure and facilities,” she noted.

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PoDs are already provided free assistance, including wheelchair services from the curbside or terminal entrance to check-in counters and boarding gates. Airport signage are also designed to help PoDs navigate easily and there are spatial considerations for passengers with limited or restricted mobility, Al Suwaidi noted.

Get the sunflower lanyard

Al Suwaidi also advised passengers with special needs to identify themselves so airport staff can provide them appropriate assistance.

One advice that she gave – particularly for passengers in the autism spectrum – is to get the sunflower lanyard. Wearing it is a discrete way to allow all airport staff to identify PoD passengers and respond appropriately to any situations and provide support.

Staff who wear the sunflower badge are trained to support POD.

Benefits of sunflower lanyard

The sunflower is the universal symbol for hidden disabilities and the lanyard serves a visual identifier.

According to DXB, “the sunflower lanyard permits access to the family and priority lanes at all passenger-processing touchpoints both at departures and arrivals.”

“It is a simple visual identifier, which is low-cost and an effective method of helping staff identify and support autistic passengers, making travel experience significantly enhanced.”

Sunflower lanyards are available at all DXB departure, connection and arrival counters.

PoD travellers are also reminded to use the DPNA (Disabled Passenger with Intellectual or Developmental Disability Needing Assistance) code that was introduced by International Air Transport Association (IATA) back in 2008. It is typically used in airline bookings to inform travel service providers that the passenger requires assistance during their travel.

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