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American Airlines Relaunches Program To Help Children With Autism Deal With Anxiety On Flights
Passengers with autism and other disabilities have always experienced problems on flights. Although there have been advancements over the decades, there are still some obstacles.
Some airline companies are working to change this by offering passengers with disabilities better traveling conditions. American Airlines is one of them. The Fort Worth-based carrier recently relaunched a program that helps children with autism and other disabilities, The Dallas Morning News reported.
Called “It’s Cool to Fly American Airlines”, which was designed to help special needs flyers, the offering is returning after being suspended for two years.
The program restarted on April 1 at DFW International Airport.
American Airlines’ program was first launched in 2014. It was designed to allow children with autism and other disabilities to board the company’s plane and even taxis around the airport’s runway for about 30 minutes. Also, pilots power up the engine to let them feel the roar and thrust of takeoff.
In an interview with The Dallas Morning News, Program Director & founder of ‘It’s Cool to Fly’ Bruce Sickler said the company has received over 6,000 passengers and family members in the past seven years.
“It’s targeting kids with autism, but we don’t turn anyone away,” Sickler said. “Anyone that has anxiety can come, even adults with anxiety.” People as old as 26 have participated along with their families, Sickler said, adding that the program lets parents know if their children enjoy flying after years of experiencing trips that sometimes are challenging to them.
The executive revealed that the next events scheduled will be in Charlotte, N.C. on April 23 and Los Angeles on May 7. There is a waitlist for those who want to participate. Philadelphia; Orange County, California; Jacksonville, Fla.; Cleveland; and San Diego are also on the schedule.
American program leaders hope to do another round at DFW, its largest hub, in September or October.