A hidden disabilities initiative is being introduced by Virgin Atlantic

The scheme aims to ensure the airline provides extra assistance to those who may need it without them having to ask.

A specially designed symbol, which can be worn as a pin badge or discretely tucked away in passports as a bookmark, alerts specially trained airline staff that extra assistance may be needed by an individual, or their family, when travelling.

The carrier’s special assistance team can also work with passengers pre-departure.

Staff can arrange for travellers to be escorted through the airport, have access to priority boarding and reserve seating where necessary.

They can also ensure that in-flight entertainment is provided for blind passengers, with some crew also trained in sign language.

Virgin Atlantic passenger accessibility manager Geraldine Lundy said: “We are committed to giving all customers easier access to travel.

“The hidden disabilities scheme is one of a series of initiatives that Virgin Atlantic is planning on introducing over the coming years, to help those with disabilities overcome any key challenges they may face. ”

Sara Marchant, accessibility manager at Gatwick, said: “It is so important to cater to the needs of all customers, including those with hidden disabilities.

“This sector has been all too easily overlooked in the past and so it is fantastic that the airline is targeting those whose conditions are not so apparent. We are keen to support this impactful initiative”.

Tom Morgan, from Channel 4 show The Undateables and sports ambassador for the National Autistic Society, recently travelled under the scheme.

He said: “Geraldine and her team go above and beyond to ensure that your flight experience is tailored to your specific needs.

“For instance, I asked if I could be sat at the back of the plane so that if I was to experience ticks on the flight, I wouldn’t disturb the passenger behind me.

“Virgin Atlantic easily accommodated my request, which made me much less nervous about the flying process.”