A small but increasing number of airports have implemented a hidden disability assistance program (HDAP) and issued sunflower lanyards to allow airport staff to recognize their travelers who have a hidden disability (HD) and may require special needs transiting through airport terminals. Airports employees are required to become aware of the challenges that travelers with an HD may face to provide appropriate support to meet their needs. A vital part of the overall program is the provision of training to airport ground staff so they may render appropriate and effective assistance. Several studies have investigated the challenges airline travelers with a physical disability face; however, there exists limited research focusing on travelers with an HD.

This paper is exploratory in nature A semi-structured interview was employed to investigate (a) the implementation issues of HDAPs at Australian airports; and (b) staff training procedures based on the perspectives of 10 participants from major Australian airports. Servicescape and ADDIE concepts guided the investigations. The authors used the thematic text analysis approach to analyze the data. This paper produced three main findings for researchers and air transport stakeholders: (1) provided an awareness of the challenges affecting the implementation of HD programs, (2) provided an understanding of appropriate airport design, and (3) proposes a series of guidelines for developing and designing appropriate airport staff training to cater to the needs of all airline passengers with an HD. Finally, it is hoped that the present paper can be used to contribute to theory and practice in important ways. It is envisaged that the findings might provide a more theoretically sound and detailed model for understanding the challenges faced by travelers with HDs when navigating the physical environment of airport terminals. Furthermore, this study offers a new perspective regarding the training of airport ground staff in assisting passengers with an HD

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