News from the Sky: Sky Harbor Provides Caring Help to Individuals with Disabilities

Phoenix Sky Harbor Airport

Treating individuals with disabilities with the sensitivity and respect they deserve is a top priority at Phoenix Sky Harbor. This caring assistance was recently enhanced when Phoenix Mayor Kate Gallego announced steps toward making Phoenix a Dementia Friendly City.

America’s Friendliest Airport joined the initiative last fall by launching training and other measures to make it easier and more comfortable for people experiencing dementia (and their families and traveling companions) to travel through the airport.

Phoenix was among the first and largest cities to join Dementia Friendly America (DFA), which aims at making everyday life easier to navigate for those affected by dementia.

Changes at Sky Harbor include efforts such as the Compassion Cacti™ Lanyard Program, which is spearheaded by the airport’s Customer Service team. The special lanyard is worn around the neck by a traveler who self-identifies as someone with special needs. It alerts staff to more easily recognize and provide assistance to them. The lanyard also gives travelers the ability to enter new, quiet areas that offer minimal distractions—something that can help avoid the agitation and confusion that can present itself when a person experiencing dementia is away from home.

The Customer Service staff continues to provide internal marketing to make certain all airport employees recognize and support the program. In addition, the team has launched an effort called the Navigator Support Guides. It’s a new practice where those with a lanyard who need additional assistance to have a Navigator Support Guide volunteer to accompany them as they navigate the airport to or from their gate.

Another customer service component is the Compassion Corner located in Terminal 4, Level 3, east end. This is a multi-faceted space for both customers and airport employees. It includes a non-denominational chapel, a Sensory Room designed to serve special needs travelers who need a sensory break from an airport environment, and the Compassion Corner office.

For more information on the Compassion Cacti™ lanyard and Compassion Corner amenities, visit