This October marks the 75th observance of U.S. National Disability Employment Awareness Month, which celebrates America's workers with disabilities and reminds employers of the importance of inclusive hiring practices.
This year, Delta was honored as a “Best Place to Work for Disability Inclusion” for the fifth consecutive year by the Disability Equality index, a prominent tool for Fortune 1000 companies to gauge their level of disability workplace inclusion.
“The disability community represents our people, customers and communities. Amid our broader diversity, equity and inclusion focus, this month calls our attention toward creating a world and a workplace that is more inclusive and accessible for all,” said Keyra Lynn Johnson – Delta’s Chief Diversity & Inclusion Officer. “A commitment toward understanding, learning from the Delta family and constant improvement will allow us to keep climbing.”
Delta is committed to constantly improving opportunities for both employees and customers. We continue to advance disability inclusion in the following ways:
1. ABLE Disability Business Resource Group for employees
ABLE Disability Business Resource Group is a voluntary employee organization whose mission is to continue to make Delta a great place to work for all employees by promoting inclusion, respect for differences, equal opportunity and diversity. By hosting events and meetings throughout the year, the organization gives Delta people the opportunity to network, learn about disabilities in different forms and promote understanding through accessibility, barrier elimination, leadership and education.
ABLE also provides a forum for employees to connect with one another and serve as consultants to leadership on strategies or decisions that predominantly impact people with disabilities.
“The ABLE Disability Business Resource Group is where I can share my enthusiasm and passion for creating an inclusive and diverse workplace, fostering equal opportunity and respectfulness for all of our difference,” said Johann Hassanally, ABLE Treasurer. “I love making sure we are all included, and by working together we can accomplish so much!”
2. Learning from the Advisory Board on Disability
Delta aims to be the carrier of choice for all customers through thoughtful, reliable and innovative service. Our Advisory Board on Disability, alongside the above mentioned Business Resource Group, promotes accessibility for all of our customers by providing recommendations to Delta related to training, policies, procedures and anything that impacts the travel experience of people with disabilities.
All Advisory Board members are experts on various disabilities and are Delta frequent flyers.
3. Highlighting Sign Language skills on employee uniforms
Last year, Delta rolled out a uniform language bar option for over 300+ sign languages around the world. Delta was the first U.S. airline to offer this option; and with this improvement, customers and qualified employees are immediately able to visually recognize when they hold sign language as a common connection.
This initiative came to life as a direct result of feedback from Delta's customers, ABLE Disability Business Resource Group for employees and our Advisory Board on Disability.
4. Accessible travel services for customers
We believe travel is for everyone. It’s our priority to deliver the best service and ensure accessibility for all Delta customers. Before boarding, in the air, upon arrival and anywhere in between, our gate agents and attendants are available to assist.
While Delta understands that customers are the best experts on their disabilities, the airline offers the following (and more) accommodations to assist them throughout their travels:
- Those traveling with assistive devices have the option to use Delta's wheelchair equipment for travel within the airport, as their own device is transferred to the airport operations team for aircraft loading.
- Many airports offer multisensory or calming rooms for travelers who have sensory sensitivities, which provides a calming, supportive environment for customers on the autism spectrum. The room contains a mini ball pit, bubbling water sculpture, a tactile activity panel and other items children can interact with to help calm and prepare them for their travel experience.
- The Fly Delta app is the ideal travel companion for customers who are Deaf or Hard-of-Hearing - but for those using a desktop or laptop, a Delta Virtual Assistant or a live Reservations specialist is available to answer questions on delta.com on the Need Help page. Customers are also able to use Apple Business Chat messaging to chat with a Virtual Assistant or live Reservations specialist on their iOS devices.
For more information on Delta’s accessible travel services, please visit delta.com.
5. Taking Flight Tours for families in the autism community
Unique sensory challenges and various communication styles can make air travel challenging. So, Delta hosts monthly guided tours in Atlanta, Minneapolis and various cities around the country to provide customers the opportunity to navigate the air travel experience in a realistic, relaxed environment, surrounded by other families in the autism community.
The tour encompasses the air travel experience from a holistic perspective, starting with the check-in process, going through TSA, waiting in the gate area and boarding the aircraft with Delta pilots and flight attendants. Delta’s experienced airport customer service agents and flight crews are on hand to answer questions and provide travel tips for their day of travel.
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, these tours are temporarily on hold.