Delta Air Lines, Piedmont Triad International Airport (PTIA) and various local organizations that support people with intellectual and developmental challenges, are holding a special event at PTIA this weekend to help make it easier for those with autism to fly.
The event, called the “Wings for All Flight,” is being held at the Delta Air Lines Departure Level of the airport at 9 a.m. on Saturday, April 1.
Airport officials say the goal is “to make air travel less stressful for people on the autism spectrum and others with intellectual disabilities.”
That will be done by giving the flyers a chance to see what it’s like to go through the boarding process, get on an aircraft and feel the plane move toward take off position.
That way, the participants – along with their family members – will be able to “practice navigating the air travel experience from check-in at the ticket counter to boarding an aircraft and taxiing out to the runway.”
The drill for special needs children and their families will include everything from checking in at the ticket counter, checking the size of their bags, passing through the security scanners, waiting at the gate and boarding a Delta aircraft.
Across the country, airports and airlines are attempting to make it easier for people with autism and other developmental challenges to fly. Parents with concerns are being instructed to contact the airline and make the airline aware of any special accommodations the child might need.
For instance, some airlines offer pre-boarding for people with autism since that’s a lot less hectic than entering a plane full of passengers who are in the process of finding their seats and stowing their carry-on luggage.