All you need to know about the Sunflower Lanyard Scheme at Dubai Airports

All you need to know about the Sunflower Lanyard Scheme at Dubai Airports

Have you walked through the airport and seen people wearing sunflower lanyards or sunflower button badges and wondered what they are?

In early December 2022, Dubai Airports announced its initiative to support People of Determination, especially those with Hidden Disabilities, during travel by providing specialised assistance and accommodations.

Image Source: Dubai Airports

First launched in 2016 at Gatwick airport in collaboration with multiple charities, the Hidden Disabilities Sunflower scheme was created to help those with hidden disabilities access the support that they need. The lanyard, which has now become a global symbol for the identification of non-visible disabilities, has been rolled out at the Dubai Airport.

The Sunflower lanyard history
iframe { width:100%} The Sunflower lanyard is a globally recognised symbol for non-visible disabilities, also known as hidden disabilities or invisible disabilities But how did it all start?Navigate through our history below by scrolling from left-to right and for an accessible ve

What are Hidden Disabilities?

As the name suggests, hidden disabilities are classified as disabilities that are not visible and cannot be seen at first glance. These disabilities may be physical, mental, or neurological. Some of these disabilities include migraines, IBS (irritable bowel syndrome), chronic pain and fatigue, brain injuries, autism, ADHD, mental illnesses such as OCD, anxiety, schizophrenia, epilepsy, dementia, sensory processing difficulties and more.

Image Source: WAM

Who can use the sunflower lanyard?

Image Source: Dubai Airports

The sunflower lanyard is available to any and all people who have hidden disabilities regardless of their age or their POD status. No documents are required to avail of these badges.

If you are travelling in a group, you require only one badge, which any member of the group may wear. This will give the whole group priority access and the benefits of the scheme. The badges are given to passengers free of charge at the airport.

How does the sunflower lanyard help?

Image Source: Dubai Airports
  • Wearing the sunflower lanyard discreetly signals to the staff at the airport that the passenger has a hidden disability. This allows staff members to provide the passengers with any additional support if and when required.
  • The lanyard gives access to the passenger and their family to priority lanes at all passenger processing touch points such as check-in, passport control, security checkpoints, and boarding.
  • The airport also has an Autism-friendly route that gives passengers prioritised check-in. These routes are marked by the POD symbol on the floor, denoted by the image below.
  • Passengers with the lanyard are eligible for prioritised wheelchair and buggy access.
  • Dedicated seats at the boarding gate that are marked with the POD symbol denoted by the image below.
POD symbol (Image Source: Ministry of Community Development)
  • Notifying the staff through the sunflower lanyard at the boarding gate will allow the staff to help passengers board when it is most comfortable for them, whether it is boarding before everyone else or boarding at the end. This service is at the discretion of the airline.
  • Wearing the sunflower badges will notify the staff at baggage claim and passengers may ask them for assistance with their luggage.

How to access the sunflower lanyard

The sunflower lanyard can be accessed for free at the Dubai Airports, or you can purchase it from one of the many online stores in Dubai.

Image Source: Dubai Airports

Before travelling

The sunflower lanyard is available for sale across online portals. Dubai residents can also collect their sunflower lanyards from the Dubai Autism Centre.

At the airport

Image Source: WAM

The sunflower lanyards and pins are available across all three terminals at the Dubai airport. While all staff are equipped to help passengers with their needs, staff wearing a sunflower badge are specifically trained to support people of determination and will be able to best guide you regarding your queries. There are multiple screens across the terminals which display the sunflower on them from where you may collect a lanyard.

Image Source: Dubai Airport


  • Terminal 1 Departures: Before checking in, make your way to a screen with a sunflower displayed and approach the staff about getting the lanyard.
  • Terminal 2 Departures: Before checking in, make your way to a screen with a sunflower displayed and approach the staff about getting the lanyard.
  • Terminal 3 Departures: You can collect the lanyard at the Departure Hall Info Desk located parallel to the departures entrance #2.

Arrivals and Connections

Image Source: Unsplash 

Once you have landed in Dubai, you can make your way to any of the information desks or screens with sunflower signs located at the terminals. In case you are unable to locate the desk, you can always ask the staff at the venue, and they will guide you to the nearest collection counter.

You can also use the map below to locate the information desks located across the airport.

Dubai Airport Map | Dubai Airports

Other points to note

Image Source: Dubai Airport
  • The sunflower lanyards can be reused during passengers' next trip at the Dubai Airports and do not need to be returned at the end of their journey.
  • Passengers may also use the sunflower lanyard at other airports that provide similar schemes.
  • Those accompanying the passenger with a sunflower lanyard do not need to be wearing a sunflower lanyard.
  • Passengers do not need to be residents of Dubai to collect a sunflower lanyard.
  • The sunflower lanyard does not guarantee disability support during the flight. Passengers must register themselves for support during their booking and contact their relevant airlines for more information.

How are staff trained?

Image Source: Dubai Autism Center 
  • The Dubai International airport is certified by the Dubai Autism Centre for meeting the requirements of the Autism Centre’s Autism-Friendly Program.
  • The Dubai Airports have implemented a comprehensive awareness drive around autism. This includes awareness about socially acceptable language and empathy.
  • The staff have been provided with key training materials to ensure that those with disabilities have the most comfortable and positive experience possible.

Travel Planner

The airport has also created a pre-travel planner that passengers can access to aid them on their journey. This planner will familiarize travellers with all the routes and procedures at the airport.

Future initiatives for People of Determination at the Dubai Airport

Image Source: Dubai Airports

While the Sunflower Lanyard scheme has been put into motion since December of 2022, according to Emirates News Agency, Dubai Airport plans to roll out the second phase of its campaign to ensure inclusivity and reach Dubai’s vision to ‘be the world’s leading disability-friendly city and barrier-free community that empowers and welcomes all People of Determination travellers.’

The scheme will be implemented over two years, and other initiatives, including but not limited to connected airports, quiet rooms, and an airport safari tour, will be launched. The Dubai International airports also had a trial period for sensory pods during the months of October and November.

Other Assitance for People of Determination at Dubai Airport

Image Source: Dubai Airport

While the Hidden disabilities scheme is a newly launched project, Dubai has always been committed to providing its visitors and residents with the best and most comfortable services. The airport also offers assistance and accommodations for those with other disabilities such as physical, visual, and hearing impairments. From wheelchair services to the specialised app, iDeclare for customs declaration, you can find a list of the services available below.  

Dubai Airports
Dubai Airports owns and manages the operation and development of both airports Dubai International (DXB) and Al Maktoum International (DWC).

For more information about the project, you can connect with Dubai Airports

Contact: 04 224 5555
Social Media:
Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter @DXB

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