Flying with the Family this Summer? Consider an “Airport Rehearsal” to make the Experience Easier and More Enjoyable

Did you know that 40% of people self-diagnose themselves with aviophobia, or, the “fear of flying“?

Whether you love it or hate it, if you’re planning a family vacation this summer that involves flying, participating in an “Airport Rehearsal” with your son or daughter with special needs may make the actual travel experience easier and more enjoyable when the day comes!

What’s an “Airport Rehearsal,” you ask?

The Arc created the Wings for Autism® and Wings for All® national initiatives specially designed to allow individuals with intellectual and/or developmental disabilities to practice going to the airport and taking a flight — before the big day of the trip actually arrives.

Families practice:

  • Entering the airport
  • Checking-in for the flight
  • Receiving a boarding pass
  • Checking bags
  • Going through airport security screening
  • Boarding the plane
  • Preparing for take-off
  • Exiting the plane

The goal of the program is to “alleviate some of the stress that families who have a child with autism [and/or other special needs] experience when traveling by air.

Check out this video on YouTube of an actual Wings for Autism® event to learn more: Wings for Autism® video

Wondering whether the program is in your area?

Here’s a schedule of recently held “Airport Rehearsal” days and locations:

Charlotte, NC – April 14, 2018
Houston, TX – April 24, 2018
Fort Wayne, IN – April 28, 2018
Denver, CO – April 28, 2018
Cedar Rapids, IA – May 5, 2018
Allentown, PA – May 5, 2018
Reno, NV – May 19, 2018
Appleton, WI – May 19, 2018

So where will you travel this summer with your family? The sky’s the limit!

If your vacation plans include visiting an amusement park, be sure to check out our blog post 8 Amusement Parks that Provide Assistance for Your Child with Special Needs!


“The desire to fly is an idea handed down to us by our ancestors who…looked enviously on the birds soaring freely through space…on the infinite highway of the air.”

– Wilbur Wright – 


Additional Air Travel-related Resources:

American Airlines has program to get children with special needs familiar to airport

15 Airports That Offer “Rehearsal Programs” for Individuals With Autism

Flying With Special Needs : Airport Rehearsal

A Special Needs Pre-Flight checklist: 16 things you need to do before heading to the airport

Flying With Type 1 Diabetes: TSA, Insulin And Meters – Oh My!

9 Tips For Flying With Your Special Needs Child


*Please Note: ENABLE Special Needs Planning, LLC, is in no way affiliated with the Wings for Autism® or Wings for All® initiatives nor does ENABLE receive any monetary benefit from your engagement with the Wings for Autism® or Wings for All® initiatives. We are simply sharing this information for your knowledge and potential enjoyment.

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