We are thrilled that Fairbanks International Airport (FAI) is the first airport in Alaska to launch the Hidden Disabilities Sunflower Program on December 15, 2021 to better meet the needs of all travelers with disabilities.
It’s easy for airport employees to lend a hand to travelers with visible cues of a disability like a passenger in a wheelchair. But there are other “hidden disabilities” that are less apparent such as autism, Crohn’s disease, dementia, hearing impairment, multiple sclerosis, PTSD, and many more! According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), 26 percent of American adults have some type of disability, many of them not visually apparent.
Travelers with non-visible disabilities may voluntarily request a Sunflower lanyard or wristband to let airport staff know that they may need a little help or extra patience. Free Sunflower lanyards or wristbands area available at participating partner locations:
- Alaska Airlines ticket counter
- AVIS Car Rental desk
- Delta Air Lines ticket counter
- the FAI Administration Office during normal business hours. FAI Administration Offices are open Monday- Friday, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., excluding holidays.
The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) security checkpoint is a non-distribution point participating partner recognizing the Sunflower Lanyard Program as well.
More recently, Everts Air has joined as a distribution partner. They are a small commuter and cargo air carrier, locally owned, that serves the small communities in Alaska such as Alaska Native communities. Many travellers commuting into Fairbanks from these areas are travelling for medical care as they often do not have much more than a travelling public health nurse visit their community every so often. Fairbanks is a medical hub for all surrounding communities and the far north.
Please note the Sunflower program does not authorize special privileges to the wearer or travel party. The program is designed only to signal to others additional help or extra patience may be required. Travelers should continue to coordinate with their airlines and/or TSA Cares (1-855-787-2227) for pre-travel questions and accommodation arrangements.
For more information about FAI’s Hidden Disabilities Sunflower Program, please click here.