RIC Joins Hidden Disabilities Sunflower Program
Dec 15, 2023
Helping Every Customer Have an Exceptional Experience
Richmond International Airport (RIC) has launched the Hidden Disabilities Sunflower (HD Sunflower) Program, a new accessibility service in the terminal for passengers with non-visible disabilities. With the launch of the service, passengers and airport staff can participate in the HD Sunflower Program, which aims to raise awareness of and support of people with hidden disabilities such as sensory conditions, autism, epilepsy, limited vision, hearing impairment, difficulty walking or standing, and more.
“RIC is pleased to offer the Hidden Disabilities Sunflower Program, a program recognized at airports around the world as a tool to help passengers with non-visible disabilities. Our goal is to help every customer have an exceptional experience, and a measure such as this one can help travelers feel more comfortable and confident with airport navigation,” said Perry J. Miller, A.A.E., I.A.P., president and CEO of the Capital Region Airport Commission. “We anticipate this program will create a better travel experience for those with hidden disabilities.”
As part of the program, passengers (or their companions) with non-visible disabilities can pick up a Sunflower lanyard to wear around their person while in the terminal at RIC. The green lanyard with sunflowers works as a visual cue and discreet way to indicate to airport staff and other passengers that the wearer (or someone with them) has a non-visible disability and may need a little more time, support, or assistance. Sunflower lanyards are available at the Visitor Information Center, ticket counters for American, Delta, and Southwest, Applebee’s in the Atrium, and the Valet Parking office.
Once a person has a Sunflower wearable, they can keep it and use it whenever they travel through RIC or any other airport or location that recognizes the program. Wearing the lanyard does not guarantee fast tracking through security or preferential treatment. Passengers are still required to arrange for special assistance with their airline and TSA Cares.
“We are absolutely delighted to welcome Richmond International Airport to the global Hidden Disabilities Sunflower network. The Sunflower has one simple goal, to improve the experiences every single day for people with non-visible disabilities,” said Paul White, CEO of Hidden Disabilities Sunflower. “And by recognising the Sunflower and its meaning to the wearer, Richmond International airport can ensure that Sunflower wearers can travel confidently and independently, safe in the knowledge that they will receive the additional help, understanding and kindness that they may need.”
The HD Sunflower Lanyard Program launched in 2016 in the United Kingdom. Nearly 100 airports throughout North America including RIC (and more than 230 worldwide) are involved in the program which supports a universal approach to identifying and providing services to passengers with non-visible disabilities.