by Ebony Williams, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution/TNS | www.disabilityscoop.com
As the holiday travel season gears up, Delta Air Lines is offering resources to travelers with autism spectrum disorder.
Delta is offering an inclusive experience at the Atlanta and Minneapolis airports as part of its Passenger Accessibility Commitment. The PAC will team with TSA to help make accessibility for flights more manageable.
“Because of my personal connection to autism, Navigating MSP is one of the most rewarding things I’ve done. The chance to work with other Delta employees that have the same goal of bringing hope to a large community that thought air travel would be an impossibility is heartwarming,” said First Officer Rich Kargel.
The program will allow families to practice what they will go through while traveling, with tours covering ticketing, TSA screening and boarding the plane. These “familiarization tours” — walking through the steps, familiarizing oneself with the process and spotting any trouble spots in advance — can help those with autism feel safe and calm on the actual travel day.
Airports are increasingly working to make travel more manageable for passengers with autism or other sensory processing disorders. Airports in Seattle, New York, San Diego, Pittsburgh and Atlanta have added sensory rooms that ticketed passengers can access based on their individual needs.
“Delta people have always gone above and beyond to serve our customers, and create inclusive experiences for all,” said Dana Folsom, manager of disability programs. “Connecting the world looks different for every customer, and I am proud to work alongside people willing to go the extra mile to give all our customers that same opportunity for meaningful connections.”
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