SEPANG – As an inclusive airport, KL International Airport (KLIA) now enables a safer and friendlier journey for passengers with hidden disabilities through its latest initiative known as the “Butterfly Effect.” Initiated as part of the airport operator’s corporate responsibility initiative, it offers a wide range of facilities and services that cater to individuals with hidden disabilities i.e. Autism, Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), Global Development Delay (GDD), Sensory Processing Disorder etc. The Butterfly Effect aims to provide a more relaxed and manageable airport experience coupled with special professional assistance from airport ground staff to this specific group of passengers. Among the facilities and services provided include priority access and lanes at all major touchpoints, a Calm Room, and sensory walls installed across the terminal. Malaysia Airports believes that similar to the Butterfly Effect theory where a small change in one state can result in a big difference at a later state, the introduction of these facilities is a start towards creating a memorable and less stressful journey for our special passengers.
Additionally, in conjunction with World Autism Awareness Day this year, the airport is also offering mock airport journey experiences called ‘The Butterfly’s Adventure’ for passengers with hidden disabilities and their families to familiarise and acclimatise themselves with the airport experience and environment. As part of the tour, participants will experience the whole airport journey from checking-in, going through security screening till entering the boarding gate. These practice runs offer actual scenarios and will help participants to familiarise themselves with the procedures as well as the locations of our Butterfly Effect facilities. Familiarity with the airport journey is essential for passengers to have a more manageable traveling experience. Our team, together with our supportive airport community will take them through the processes that take place prior to boarding the plane. These pre-arranged tours will be held fortnightly for five families per session. More information on this new and exciting initiative will be announced on our official website and social media platforms by the middle of this month and those who wish to participate can register online through the website.
According to Malaysia Airports corporate communications general manager Nik Anis Nik Zakaria, navigating through an airport can be a daunting experience for anyone, especially those with autism or parents with an autistic child, “Being a Caring Host, we want to promote inclusivity where everyone can have a joyful experience at our airport when they travel. With our Butterfly Effect initiative in place, we can further ensure their safety and security while being mindful of their hidden disabilities by helping ease their journey along the way. Additional COVID-19 Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) that have been implemented may also mean a more challenging journey for this group of passengers. We hope to alleviate some of these anxieties for them.”
Passengers who wish to utilise these facilities must first register through the Malaysia Airports corporate website at www.malaysiaairports.com.my/airport-amenities/services/butterfly-effect 3 days prior to their flight. They will also need to bring with them either the official Persons with Disability (OKU) card or a letter from any hospital or clinic confirming the disability. Upon arriving at KL International Airport (KLIA), they can proceed to the Information Counter to receive a complimentary Butterfly Kit. The kit contains a Butterfly lanyard and information pertaining to the Calm Room facility as well as the locations of the Sensory Walls. Passengers or their guardians are required to wear the lanyard for easy identification by airport ground staff who have been trained by the Autism Behavioral Centre (ABC) on how to facilitate such passengers. Lanyard wearers and their guardians will then be given priority access at all major touchpoints and Butterfly Effect facilities, from the kerbside of the terminal entrance, right up to the boarding gate.
The Calm Room, which is a main feature of the initiative is located on Level 5 at Terminal 1, KLIA. It is an enclosed safe haven shielded from outside noise to soothe passengers with sensory issues and is equipped with multiple activity stations to keep them happily occupied. Apart from that, KLIA has installed 10 sensory walls across both terminals (6 in Terminal 1 and 4 in Terminal 2) providing endless exploration to our special passengers through tactile, visual, and auditory play.