Understanding PWD Demand in Airports

The Problem

Understanding demands from passengers managing cognitive disabilities.

Maximizing experience and revenue in airports requires ease of passage through the port, from entrances, through security, to the aircraft. In such high-stress environments, simplicity is essential. This is especially true for those with cognitive disabilities, the majority of whom do not disclose.

By designing from those with cognitive disabilities, airports improve the ease of passage for all. This increases time spent at revenue-maximizing areas of the airport while ensuring passengers arrive at their gates happy and on time. This also meets the business needs of critical airline customers.

Understanding pain points in passenger journey

Effects of service “handoffs” between aviation partners

Effectiveness of signage throughout airport

Understanding ability of PWD to identify airport services intended for their benefit

What We Delivered

To address these problems, RoDG conducted a series of “secret shops” – recruiting PWD with cognitive disabilities to travel on round trips through the airport. These users travelled as they normally would, without assistance from RoDG. This allowed us to uncover the experiences of those who do not disclose their disability, without introducing bias from researchers.

alt text here

The Real Deal

“Secret-shop” by actual passengers with cognitive disabilities – not advocates or activists.

Experience, Unpacked

All study participants completed a diary of experience and participated in a focus group.

Step-by-Step Reflection

Guided walk-through of airport with RoDG’s team of expert analysts to contextualize study findings.

alt text here

Cross-Sector Analysis

Benchmarking of client airport with leaders in disability space – within and outside aviation.


Maximizing the experience of those with cognitive disabilities overlaps with key revenue drivers. These findings promote ease of journey for all.

alt text here

Help Us Help Ourselves

PWD demand independence in navigating their airport experience – desire for “self-serve” options. Current targeted services underused.

This Way or That?

Space, time and technology is underutilized for wayfinding. This creates information gaps while navigating airports, thus creating delays.

Take Our Money, Please!

Wayfinding to revenue drivers such as food and retail can and should be maximized.

Information Overload

Amount of information – everywhere – can be difficult to process for everyone.