Sun. Mar 3rd, 2024

Air Canada adheres to re to a program for more accessibility

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Dozens of disabled travelers have reported injuries and damaged wheelchairs during flights to CBC/Radio-Canada.

The Canadian Press

Air Canada adopts new measure to better serve travelers with non-visible disabilities, as the carrier seeks to improve service ;accessibility after cases of abuse.

The Montreal-based airline announced Tuesday its membership in the Sunflower for Disabilities invisible program, which allows customers to wear a discreet sunflower symbol.

This symbol indicates to staff that these passengers may require additional assistance or special needs.

Air Canada claims to be the first North American airline to join this program.

This decision is part of the three-year plan to x27;Air Canada accessibility. It follows numerous cases of passenger mistreatment reported last year, including when a man with spastic cerebral palsy had to drag himself off a plane due to a lack of help.

In November, Air Canada CEO Michael Rousseau apologized for the carrier's accessibility shortcomings.

He also announced that he would accelerate the company's accessibility plan as well as new measures aimed at improving the travel experience of hundreds of thousands of passengers living with disabilities.

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The airline explained in a press release on Tuesday that the Tournesol lanyard will be available at check-in counters at several airports across the country and on board all Air flights Canada.

The carrier says it will train and educate its employees so they can recognize and respond appropriately to participating customers, whose disabilities can range from autism to hearing loss to going through Alzheimer's disease.

Every year, we receive 1.3 million accessibility requests from customers. This initiative once again demonstrates our commitment to improving accessibility, said Tom Stevens, Vice President of Customer Experience and Operations Strategy at Air Canada, in a press release. /p>

The Sunflower program was launched at London's Gatwick Airport in 2016 and has since expanded to more than 230 airports and 15 airlines worldwide. Carriers include British Airways, Air France-KLM and Ryanair, but none have been based in North America until now.

Air Canada and the Tournesol program are committed together to ensuring that those who wear the lanyard are recognized and obtain the additional support, empathy and kindness they need during a theft, said Paul White, chief executive of Hidden Disabilities Sunflower Scheme Limited, a private U.K. company that runs the global program.

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