Come (Butter)fly with me

Passengers with ‘hidden disabilities’ get a new-look passport to the skies

THOUSANDS of travellers with ‘hidden disabilities’ have cruised through Liverpool John Lennon Airport (LJL) in safety and comfort and it’s all thanks to the butterfly effect.

In 2015, the airport, which is part-owned by Liverpool City Council, introduced the Butterfly Voucher to assist passengers with conditions such as autism and dementia.

The system allows passengers who may need support in passing through the airport to carry a discreet butterfly card. Once shown to airport staff they provide help through all stages of the airport process, from check-in to boarding.

Butterfly has helped 2,000 individuals and families to pass through the airport each year.

Now the hugely successful scheme has been given a brand new look to include the sunflower logo, which is rapidly becoming the umbrella symbol for hidden disabilities.

Pat Broster, who chairs the transport group for the Liverpool Dementia Action Alliance (DAA), welcomed the move.

Pat said: “This scheme will provide people living with dementia and their carers the assurances and confidence of being supported by airport staff when travelling through the airport.  LJL Airport committed to work with the Liverpool DAA transport group to contribute to Liverpool becoming s dementia friendly city.”

“As a key transport hub for Liverpool they have recognised the benefits of supporting dementia friendly travel, not only not only to residents travelling out of the city but also supporting the increasing number of tourists to our city.”

Since LJL introduced the scheme, other airports across the country have followed suit offering similar support schemes using wristbands or lanyards.

Earlier this year, the Civil Aviation Authority issued official guidance entitled ‘Supporting people with hidden disabilities at UK airports’.

Liverpool City Council’s Mayoral Lead for Older People (South), Cllr Jeremy Wolfson, was on hand recently at the launch of the new look Butterfly Voucher.

Cllr Wolfson said: “Navigating your way through a busy international airport can be a daunting prospect for anyone, so it is vitally important that people with hidden disabilities, who may find this type of environment challenging are given the extra assistance they need.

“It is clear that Liverpool John Lennon Airport is committed to raising awareness about dementia and other hidden disabilities and are doing all they can to provide the best experience for everyone who passes through.

“What is particularly pleasing is that the Butterfly Voucher scheme has become a beacon of good practice which others have taken on board.”

Pictured (from left): LJL Customer Services Executive Christina Smith, Cllr Jeremy Wolfson and Pat Broster, Tommy Dunne and Paul Hitchmough from Dementia Action Alliance.

Liverpool Waterfront