Denver, CO

Here’s what the sunflower lanyards at DIA mean

Brittany Anas
Denver International Airport now has a sunflower lanyard program for those with hidden disabilities.Denver International Airport

By Brittany Anas / NewsBreak Denver

(Denver, Colo) Approximately 43 million people in the United States have some type of disability that may affect mobility, vision, hearing or cognition. Recognizing that those with cognitive, developmental disabilities may get confused, lost or just need a little extra time navigating a large, busy airport, Denver International Airport has a new, optional sunflower lanyard program that discreetly signals a traveler has a hidden disability.

As the third busiest airport in the world, DEN has partnered with the Hidden Disabilities Sunflower organization to offer the program at the airport. More than 140 airports globally offer the sunflower lanyards, which originated at Gatwick Airport in the United Kingdom.

There are no prerequisites for asking for or wearing the Hidden Disabilities Sunflower-branded lanyard. Travelers and travel care companions can obtain a Sunflower Lanyard from a DEN Ambassador or a customer service agent at one of the four customer service information booths at DEN, located in the terminal and in the center of the A, B and C concourses.

By wearing the lanyard, DEN team members are signaled that a person has a hidden disability and may need extra support getting through security, to gates and through baggage claim.
Denver International Airport

“By implementing this program, we can better support our passengers who may need more assistance while on their journey through DEN and help make their travel experience more comfortable and enjoyable,” says DEN CEO Phil Washington.

Hidden disabilities (also known as invisible disabilities) is a term used for people who have a disability that is not visibly apparent or obvious. Examples could include dementia, autism, hearing loss, brain injury, Parkinson’s disease, speech difficulties, visual limitations, general aging-related decline, asthma, COPD, chronic illnesses and more.

Airports over the last couple of years have had an increased focus on improving the customer experience for those with varying abilities.

The U.S. Government Accountability Office in 2021 released an airport accessibility report that examined barriers in U.S. airports, like complex terminal layouts with long distances between gates and travel information that’s not available in a format that’s accessible for all, like announcing critical information such as gate changes over loudspeakers.

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Brittany is a journalist in the Denver metro area with more than two decades of writing and editing experience. She covers travel, restaurants and other lifestyle topics.

Westminster, CO

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