News from the Sky: PHX Sky Harbor Hosts Dementia Friendly Air Travel Workshop

Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport

To help plan a safe, comfortable, and enjoyable trip for passengers with dementia and their caregivers, the Customer Service team at Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport will host a special, two-hour workshop in July.

Specifically, a Dementia Friendly Air Travel Workshop is scheduled for Wednesday, July 12 from 10 a.m. to noon. Those interested in learning more or wishing to attend the workshop can email [email protected].

The Dementia Friendly Air Travel Workshop will bring together representatives from the airport, airlines, and TSA to share information and tips while answering questions from family members of those with dementia and care providers.

An estimated 7 million people in the United States experience dementia and thinking about travel or planning a future getaway can be overwhelming.

“Feeling overwhelmed and not knowing the resources available to help from the curb, through the airport, and to the reserved seat on the plane can make it easy to see how many view traveling as a stressful situation,” said PHX’s Superintendent of Customer Service, Misty Cisneros-Contreras. “Being prepared can make the experience less intimidating for both care providers and their loved ones. We are excited that our Dementia Friendly Air Travel Workshop adds another layer to the programming already offered to ensure these unique customers have a positive traveling experience.”

America’s Friendliest Airport® adopted a dementia-friendly initiative in 2021 that added special programming for those traveling with dementia.

In fall 2021, Phoenix Sky Harbor showcased its Compassion Cacti™ Lanyard Program as part of the city’s commitment to joining Dementia Friendly America (DFA). The distinct lanyard, which is worn around the neck, identifies a traveler as a person who experiences dementia, making it easier for airport staff to recognize them and offer assistance. The lanyard can also be used for those travelers who self-identify as needing extra assistance.

The airport’s part in the DFA campaign was included in an initiative launched by the Phoenix Mayor’s Office, which spearheaded efforts citywide.

Equally important was the airport’s pledge to become Dementia Friends Champions. This component aimed at educating staff throughout the airport to identify passengers with dementia and their caregivers and to treat them with dignity and respect.

To learn more about the Airport’s programs, visit