Orlando International Airport (MCO) in the US state of Florida has launched a customer service that seeks to assist passengers with hidden disabilities.

The initiative, called Sunflower Lanyard programme, aims to help people suffering from issues that are not apparent such as low vision, hearing loss, autism, anxiety disorders, dementia, epilepsy, rheumatoid arthritis, post-traumatic stress disorder and learning disabilities, among others.

The voluntary, self-identification programme will allow such travellers to wear Hidden Disabilities Sunflower lanyards, enabling airport staff to identify them and reach out for any assistance.

Passengers who seek to avail the assistance can procure the lanyards from the third level information booths in the main terminal.

Greater Orlando Aviation Authority Customer Experience director Brian Engle said: “Not all disabilities are visible and this programme allows our staff to subtly identify those in need of an extra level of customer service and make sure that everyone, no matter what their circumstance, has a good Orlando experience.”

The Sourcing Group CEO Billy Caan said: “We are excited to partner with the Orlando International Airport on this growing initiative to offer the Hidden Disabilities Sunflower products in the Southeastern US.

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“This programme is a very worthy cause and creates a more comfortable, positive airport experience for people who have disabilities that might not be visible.”

The programme was launched in London’s Gatwick Airport in 2016. Subsequently, it was adopted by supermarkets, railway stations, sporting venues and museums in the UK.

Earlier this year, Orlando Airport deployed automated hand sanitiser stations and new retail vending machines. The move was part of its efforts to reduce interaction at the airport in order to minimise Covid-19 contagion risks.