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How Dubai airports will make travel more accessible for people of determination – News

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

Published: Friday, January 12, 2024, 6:00 am

Determined passengers, particularly those with hearing and visual impairments, can look forward to new technologies being rolled out this year at Dubai International Airport (DXB) that will make their lives easier when traveling in and out of the country.

Speaking at the 4th International Accessible Travel and Tourism Conference in Dubai on Thursday, Eman Al Suwaidi, Head of Government Agenda at Dubai Airports, said they will implement hearing loops at various passenger touchpoints to people of determination (PoD) with hearing difficulties and other innovation for people with visual impairments.

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

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

But there is no one-size-fits-all solution for PoD travelers and the hearing circuit will be a game-changer, Al Suwaidi noted, adding that wearable devices will be placed at counters, including information desks and gate check-in. accountants and more to help PoDs.

Hearing loops are a special type of sound system that powers hearing aids or cochlear implants. They eliminate unwanted background noise and the sound will go directly to the hearing aid for better communication and understanding between airport staff and PoD passengers.

Get the sunflower lanyard

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

One piece of advice he gave, especially to passengers with autism, is to get the sunflower lanyard. Using it is a discreet way to allow all airport staff to identify PoD passengers and respond appropriately to any situation and provide support.

Personnel wearing the sunflower badge are trained to support POD.

Benefits of sunflower lace

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

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

“It is a simple, low-cost visual identifier and an effective method to help staff identify and support autistic passengers, significantly improving the travel experience.”

Sunflower lanyards are available at all DXB departure, transfer and arrival desks.

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

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