Seattle-Tacoma International Airport to make travel more accessible for all
The Seattle airport has announced new services aimed at meeting the needs of passengers with hidden disabilities, as well as PRMs, to make the experience as stress-free as possible.
Seattle-Tacoma International Airport (SEA) has become the first U.S. airport to launch a new accessibility programme to include passengers with hidden disabilities, and to improve services for passengers with reduced mobility (PRMs). The pilot programme aims to limit how stressful the journey is for all travellers and meet the needs of guests whose disabilities are not immediately evident. It will help the airport to improve the travel experience beyond the requirement of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and advance their efforts in their objective to make travel as easy, safe, and comfortable as possible.
Peter Steinbrueck, Commissioner of Port of Seattle, said: “We are working to make Sea-Tac Airport the most accessible airport in the nation. We are making strides to help our passengers safely navigate a loud and crowded airport by improving signage and increasing options for travel to and from the airport. All travellers should feel welcomed and that the airport meets their needs. New initiatives like the sunflower lanyards and improved design make travel more accessible and less stressful for everyone.”
The airport will be the first in the U.S. to begin a sunflower lanyard pilot programme, offering distinct lanyards to passengers with hidden disabilities such as autism, PTSD, or hearing loss, amongst others, to make it clear to staff and other passengers that those wearing it may need extra help. SEA will also pilot a new auditory assistance project, installing hearing loops to improve the clarity of sound for passengers with various hearing aids and implants. Other services will include wheelchair accessible taxis, a curb appeal, a new app to help when navigating the airport, and better accessibility amenities.
Open Doors Organization’s Executive Director, Eric Lipp, said: “There is something very special about what is happening in Seattle. The Port of Seattle is raising the bar, not only for itself, but for airports in the U.S. and across the globe. From new curb cuts to sunflower lanyards that help people with hidden disabilities, Sea-Tac Airport is a leader and is to be applauded for holding itself to a higher standard by weaving access into its identity.”