Katie Spill­man, PR Counsel 

North­west Flori­da Beach­es Inter­na­tion­al Airport 

(727) 2360284 or katies@​themooreagency.​com

ECP part­ners with hid­den dis­abil­i­ties sun­flower pro­gram to improve acces­si­bil­i­ty for all passengers

The Hid­den Dis­abil­i­ties Sun­flower is a dis­creet sign that the wear­er has a hid­den dis­abil­i­ty and may need addi­tion­al support

PANA­MA CITY BEACH, Fla. (May 8, 2023) — To bet­ter meet the needs of all trav­el­ers, North­west Flori­da Beach­es Inter­na­tion­al Air­port (ECP) has part­nered with the Hid­den Dis­abil­i­ties Sun­flower Pro­gram. The Hid­den Dis­abil­i­ties Sun­flower is a sim­ple tool for pas­sen­gers to vol­un­tar­i­ly share that they have a dis­abil­i­ty or con­di­tion that may not be imme­di­ate­ly appar­ent, such as autism, PTSD, or hear­ing loss. A Sun­flower-brand­ed prod­uct dis­creet­ly informs Air­port staff and air­line crew that the wear­er may need extra assis­tance while traveling.

ECP staff antic­i­pates the pro­gram will be imple­ment­ed ear­ly this sum­mer. Soon, pas­sen­gers with hid­den dis­abil­i­ties will be able to request a free Sun­flower lan­yard, pin, but­ton, or oth­er iden­ti­fi­er at ECP. Pas­sen­gers who are already in the pro­gram will be wel­come to wear their own Sun­flower prod­uct if they already have one. 

Here at ECP, we strive to make all pas­sen­gers feel com­fort­able and con­fi­dent,” said Park­er W. McClel­lan Jr., A.A.E., ECP Exec­u­tive Direc­tor. By part­ner­ing with the Hid­den Dis­abil­i­ties Sun­flower Pro­gram, we are enhanc­ing acces­si­bil­i­ty for all pas­sen­gers. Our staff will soon be trained to eas­i­ly spot pas­sen­gers wear­ing the Sun­flower and pro­vide them with addi­tion­al support.” 

There is no qual­i­fy­ing list of hid­den dis­abil­i­ties. If a pas­sen­ger has a hid­den dis­abil­i­ty and feels like they would ben­e­fit from wear­ing a Hid­den Dis­abil­i­ties Sun­flower prod­uct, ECP encour­ages them to do so. Once the pro­gram is in place, pas­sen­gers should also con­tin­ue to coor­di­nate with their air­line and/​or TSA Cares for accom­mo­da­tion arrangements. 

The Hid­den Dis­abil­i­ties Sun­flower Pro­gram was pio­neered in 2016 at the Gatwick Inter­na­tion­al Air­port in Lon­don. The pro­gram has since been imple­ment­ed glob­al­ly by orga­ni­za­tions across sec­tors includ­ing trans­porta­tion, retail, finance and edu­ca­tion. Aware­ness of the pro­gram con­tin­ues to grow in the Unit­ed States, where it has been adopt­ed by approx­i­mate­ly 80 air­ports. See the list of par­tic­i­pat­ing air­ports here.

We are delight­ed that ECP is join­ing the glob­al Hid­den Dis­abil­i­ties Sun­flower net­work,” said Paul White, Hid­den Dis­abil­i­ties Sun­flower CEO. By intro­duc­ing the Sun­flower through­out the air­port, ECP is com­ple­ment­ing their acces­si­bil­i­ty to sup­port pas­sen­gers with non-vis­i­ble dis­abil­i­ties. Sun­flower wear­ers trav­el for many rea­sons, and the knowl­edge that they will receive sup­port when need­ed increas­es their con­fi­dence to travel.”

Glob­al­ly, 1 in 7 peo­ple live with a dis­abil­i­ty. While some expe­ri­ence vis­i­ble dis­abil­i­ties, many oth­ers have a non-vis­i­ble con­di­tion or expe­ri­ence a com­bi­na­tion of both vis­i­ble and non-vis­i­ble con­di­tions. These dis­abil­i­ties can be neu­ro­log­i­cal, cog­ni­tive and neu­rode­vel­op­men­tal as well as phys­i­cal, visu­al and audi­to­ry. They can also be res­pi­ra­to­ry or include chron­ic health con­di­tions like arthri­tis and dia­betes. With these diverse access needs in mind, it is impor­tant for busi­ness­es serv­ing trav­el­ers to try to improve acces­si­bil­i­ty with­in their pub­lic spaces.

We have seen the tremen­dous suc­cess of the Sun­flower pro­gram at oth­er air­ports around the world,” said McClel­lan. It is impor­tant we bring the pro­gram to ECP to ensure that pas­sen­gers with hid­den dis­abil­i­ties have an enjoy­able trav­el experience.”

Accord­ing to Hid­den Dis­abil­i­ties Sun­flower, a Sun­flower lan­yard or oth­er iden­ti­fi­er is a visu­al cue that helps peo­ple to acknowl­edge the dai­ly bar­ri­ers faced by some­one liv­ing with an invis­i­ble dis­abil­i­ty. A sun­flower design was select­ed because it rep­re­sents pos­i­tiv­i­ty, strength and growth. For more infor­ma­tion about the Hid­den Dis­abil­i­ties Sun­flower Pro­gram, vis­it https://​hid​dendis​abil​i​ties​store​.com/us/.


About North­west Flori­da Beach­es Inter­na­tion­al Air­port

North­west Flori­da Beach­es Inter­na­tion­al Air­port (ECP) offers some of the region’s low­est aver­age air­fares and is locat­ed less than 30 min­utes from Pana­ma City Beach, Pana­ma City, and the beach­es of South Wal­ton. Today, with ser­vice from Amer­i­can Air­lines, Delta Air Lines, South­west Air­lines, and Unit­ed Air­lines, ECP’s air­line part­ners pro­vide dai­ly flights to world­wide des­ti­na­tions, includ­ing year-round and sea­son­al non­stop flights between ECP and Atlanta (ATL), Austin (AUS) Bal­ti­more (BWI), Char­lotte (CLT), Chica­go (MDW/ORD), Dal­las (DAL/DFW), Den­ver (DEN), Hous­ton (HOU/IAH), Indi­anapo­lis (IND), Kansas City (MCI), Nashville (BNA), St. Louis (STL), Wash­ing­ton DC (DCA), and more. ECP pro­vides North­west Flori­da with first-class facil­i­ties and was strate­gi­cal­ly devel­oped for major eco­nom­ic devel­op­ment oppor­tu­ni­ties. ECP is the gate­way to vis­i­tors seek­ing North­west Florida’s famous beach­es.