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Experience with sunflower lanyard in UK

Experience with sunflower lanyard in UK

Old Sep 13, 2019, 1:11 pm
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Experience with sunflower lanyard in UK

Several airport have introduced a scheme for people with hidden disabilities to let themselves known to staff discreetly, by putting a sunflower lanyard.
https://www.bbc.co.uk/newsround/49345642

This has been extended to quite a few airport in the UK as well as supermarket branches.
I think having a master thread to collect experience would be useful.

I flew to Heathrow earlier today. The airline I used does not participate in the scheme so I put the lanyard while disembarking at Terminal 2. At the UK border the agent directing people to the EU automated machine spotted my lanyard and stopped me. She enquired if I was travelling alone, which I was, then directed me to the staff queue for immigration. I was seen immediately without queuing, for which I was glad as my Ankylosing Spondylitis is flaring up since a few days and my left knee is affected.
I will report in a few days with the experience at departure.
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Old Sep 13, 2019, 1:38 pm
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Glad to read it has worked.

How do you get one? It might be sensible for me to get one for when my back (2 slipped discs) and/or RA is playing up and I can't stand for long. I have the most ridiculous situation that makes me definitely look entirely fit and healthy - due to an old knee injury, I can't walk much in flats, so I wear heels, which really makes me appear as though I am entirely devoid of any physical limitations!
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Old Sep 13, 2019, 1:45 pm
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I'm interested too - fortunately my flareups are few and far between (relatively speaking) but it might be nice to have one of these to wear when they coincide with my travels (which happens more often than I think it should!)

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Old Sep 13, 2019, 2:10 pm
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One way to get it is to order it at Heathrow, it is free and they ship worldwide or you can pick it up at service desks around the airport :
https://www.heathrow.com/airport-gui...n-disabilities
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Old Sep 13, 2019, 4:36 pm
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Originally Posted by fransknorge
One way to get it is to order it at Heathrow, it is free and they ship worldwide or you can pick it up at service desks around the airport :
https://www.heathrow.com/airport-gui...n-disabilities
Thanks, fransknorge, that's perfect!

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Old Sep 13, 2019, 5:28 pm
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Originally Posted by fransknorge
One way to get it is to order it at Heathrow, it is free and they ship worldwide or you can pick it up at service desks around the airport :
https://www.heathrow.com/airport-gui...n-disabilities
Thank you, Fransknorge.
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Old Sep 14, 2019, 1:01 am
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A distressing embarrassment on BA249 LHR-GIG
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Old Sep 15, 2019, 12:23 pm
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So the return took place today and nothing special happened. That being said I am *G so eligible for fast track security, which was quiet really and priority boarding. Basically I would not have needed any special assistance. Possibly the safety staff addressed me in a different way, I sense they were a bit different. I think that some staff member associate hidden with mental disabilities.
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Old Sep 15, 2019, 2:15 pm
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Originally Posted by fransknorge
So the return took place today and nothing special happened. That being said I am *G so eligible for fast track security, which was quiet really and priority boarding. Basically I would not have needed any special assistance. Possibly the safety staff addressed me in a different way, I sense they were a bit different. I think that some staff member associate hidden with mental disabilities.
It sounded like nothing special was needed, so that's good. Unfortunately, on the Heathrow page, it says "For a hidden disability such as autism, dementia or anxiety" which IMO tends to lean people towards emotional and mental disabilities, not physical ones that are hidden. Hopefully the education will change to reflect that fact that there are many physical disabilities that are hidden too.

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Old Oct 1, 2019, 3:58 am
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The sunflower lanyard slowly gaining momentum. All BA cabin crew should have been trained about it by next summer (it's part of annual training), and ground crew should also know. It's worth pointing it out though that even if it's obvious once it's been pointed out, it's very easy for staff to "not see it" (they've got a million and one things to do, and checking what everyone is wearing isn't generally important).
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Old Feb 26, 2020, 7:15 am
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More experiences collected at LHR in the last few days. Generally the HAL staff is well aware and trained to deal with people wearing the lanyard. I was proactively put at the front of the queue for immigration or security at T2 and T5, or when asked staff would do it without any issues.
Airline staff is more of a mixed bag: LH contracted staff knows nothing, BA gate agent knew and proactively gave me preboarding. On board BA one senior staff member knew what it was and checked on me a couple of times during the flight but not all were trained or recognised it.
Overall it is a positive experience and I recommend to get it If needed.
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Old Aug 2, 2022, 6:44 pm
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Since this thread was started, the sunflower lanyard program has expanded considerably and there's now, in addition to 32 participating airports in the UK, 37 participating (and 18 soon-to-be-participating) airports in the United States and about 60 participating airports in other countries.

I've had three recent trips through YYZ, for which on one visit an attendant driving an electric cart offered a ride, which I accepted. On the two other occasions, nothing happened.

I want to note that while AC's website states in regards to pre-boarding

"Customers who have requested wheelchair assistance or who self-identify as having a disability and needing more time to board are invited to board first."

That my experience on all three occasions was different - the gate attendants invited those with young children to pre-board, and then proceeded with regular boarding.
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Old Aug 2, 2022, 11:06 pm
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It has been abused by dick-heads during the pandemic who used it to avoid wearing a mask. On some days at some UK airport a significant number of staff itself were wearing one to avoid masking. Also passengers. Result of the abuse: it is being recognized much less and disabled people wanted to wear one might not benefit from it.
As usual, abled body .......s abusing provisions for disabled.
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Old Aug 3, 2022, 5:37 pm
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I'm sorry to hear of that. Your response prompted me to review some news on the scheme in the UK, and I am saddened to read that it has been, in some ways, a victim of its own success in that those who didn't wish to wear a mask for personal reasons were abusing the lanyards as a "get away without wearing a mask free" card, and as you noted, that makes it harder for those who are genuinely wish to signal that they may require assistance.

I hope that as things continue to open up and mandatory masking policies start to go away, that perhaps we'll see that those who obtained and wore one for mask avoidance purposes will stop wearing them and that it may regain some of the lost respect.

At least in North America, as it is still relatively new, I'm not aware of it being abused, though recognition, as we've both noted in our experiences, is varied.
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Old Feb 23, 2023, 11:33 am
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Has anyone used this recently?
I've got a friend who is connecting through Heathrow next week. I got her the lanyard and helped her book the Non-Visible Disability assistance through BA. She's never flown internationally so it's a big deal and I want to be able to prep her as much as possible.
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