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Two New Initiatives Aim to Make Orlando International Airport More Accessible to All Passengers This Holiday Season

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Photo: Orlando International Airport

Passengers with disabilities spend 17.3 billion dollars a year on travel and 34 percent say they would travel more if impediments were eliminated. 

Orlando International Airport has rolled out a new website and lanyard program to make the airport more accessible. 

90.7 WMFE spoke with the airport’s Jerry Harris about how these new initiatives aren’t just good for business but improve the experience for all travelers.

Read the full interview. 

Danielle: So Jerry, 24% of passengers with disabilities say they struggle researching or booking a flight. How does the Recite Me toolbar on the Orlando International Airport website work to alleviate this?

Jerry: There are tools now on the site, which allow you to completely customize the site, the website to suit your particular needs. As it comes to websites. You can increase or decrease font sizes, you can change the colors of the background and the font, you can get rid of all of the images and just have plain text.

There are rulers so you can move the ruler down the page just to highlight one line at a time, which makes it easier for some people to read. There’s even a font that is dyslexic friendly, which has a heavier font set at the bottom of the characters on the top, which is more easily read by those with dyslexia.

There are built-in tools, including dictionaries to look up the meanings of words. And probably the, what I think is the coolest feature, it will actually recite the website to you. So you don’t even need to read it.

It’s available in over 100 foreign languages, which is far more than the previous version of our site. But in 30 plus of those languages, it will actually recite the website to you in those languages. So those that are, don’t have English as their first language, now have the choice to have the website recited to them in their native language.

Danielle: Just tell me how do I locate it and and who should use it?

Jerry: Okay, the toolbar is available on every page of our website, orlandoairports.net.

And can be brought up just by clicking the word “accessibility” on the top menu bar of the website over on the right hand side of the top bar of the website. That pops up the toolbar. And then there’s a whole range of icons that appear on the left hand side which allow you to turn on and turn off all of those features that I just mentioned.

And it’s really accessible to anyone that wants to use it, whether they have disabilities or not.

Danielle: And Orlando International Airport has just rolled out the Sunflower Lanyard Program in time for the holidays, to make the airport experience a bit smoother for folks with disabilities. How does that program work and tell me who can participate in that?

Jerry: It’s a lanyard that’s available from our information kiosks. And the program originated over in the UK. And it’s just a way for someone with hidden disabilities to be able to wear a lanyard with the sunflower motif on it, which just allows those people that have been trained to look out for it to know that those people might need a little extra assistance without you know, forcing them to come up and ask for help which typically people are reluctant to do. Just a little subtle thing that the airport personnel and so on that have been trained to recognize it can just keep an eye on these people and make sure they’re doing okay.

Listen to the full conversation, by clicking on the clip at the top of the page.

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Danielle Prieur

About Danielle Prieur

Reporter & Fill-in Host

Danielle Prieur is a general assignment reporter at WMFE. You can hear her reporting on a daily basis on the station. She also fills-in as a host during the morning and afternoon drive times. Her reporting has been featured on NPR. Danielle is originally from Rochester Hills, Michigan and is a graduate of both the ... Read Full Bio »