How British Airways is helping autistic customers

The airline launched new steps during World Autism Acceptance Week.

British Airways has teamed up with Learning Rose, an organisation that develops support material for people with autism, to launch, what the airline calls, “a visual guide to flying.”

Announced as part of World Autism Acceptance Week, the Visual Guide – approved by the National Autistic Society – is designed to help British Airways’ customers prepare for their trip and make them feel as comfortable as possible during their journey.

Stuart Bailey

The airline stated each section to the guide “describes a different part of the flying experience, using simple icons and text to describe the sights, sounds and smells passengers can expect,” and added it was the first airline in the UK to launch such an initiative.

Calum Laming, Chief Customer Officer at British Airways said: “At British Airways we welcome more than half a million customers who require special assistance each year and we’re fully committed to making sure our service is accessible to all. We’re always looking for ways to improve the experience for customers with visible and non-visible disabilities.

“Our partnership with Learning Rose is just one of the many initiatives we have in place to make flying as stress-free as possible and we’re looking forward to further strengthening and enhancing our partnership going forward.”

Stuart Bailey

Rebecca Taylor, Founder of Learning Rose – whose son has autism, mitigated echolalia and sensory modulation dysfunction – added: “I am really proud to partner with British Airways to create a newly updated and expanded Visual Guide and provide additional training and support for the airline’s colleagues.

“I know from both my experience working as cabin crew and from travelling with my son that flying can sometimes be overwhelming for people with autism, so I am delighted to be working with British Airways to help ease any travel anxieties that people with autism may face.”

British Airways was the first UK airline to be awarded the renowned Autism Friendly Award by the National Autistic Society and the first to formally recognise the sunflower lanyard scheme, partnering with Hidden Disabilities Sunflower.

Customers wishing to discuss accessibility needs with British Airways are advised to contact its specialist team, add any requirements to their booking in advance, or make use of the specialist check-in areas at London Heathrow.