Mom’s Thank You to JetBlue (Shawna and her son)

Traveling with your children on a plane can be an extremely stress-inducing thing—for both you and your child. There are many sensory “unfriendly” barriers your child will have to hurdle – loud noises, weird smells, wearing a seatbelt, crowding, etc., etc. – and then for you, you’re trying to anticipate it all. It can be tough. Plus, on top of that, you hope that people and the airline will show compassion and care as you try to navigate through all of the obstacles.

If you’ve looked online lately, you may have seen some unfavorable attention being placed on United Airlines after a mom claims she and her family were removed from one of their flights in response to an exchange with crew about a special food request for her daughter who has autism (read more). And I think sometimes it’s easier to share, thanks to the Internet, when you have a bad or negative experience. However, it’s important to remember that many people who have special needs or require certain accommodations travel every day and often have wonderful experiences. And it’s nice to call those out too.

So this all leads me to a mom named Shawna who wrote a “thank you” note to JetBlue and shared in on her blog. In it, she describes how she and her son, who has high-functioning autism, travel often and she knows how complicated it can be. Her son has a particularly tough time in the boarding area with its loud announcements and large crowds. It was the first time she was flying JetBlue and not only was it easy to note her son’s special needs when booking the ticket online, the great service continued throughout their trip – JetBlue boarded Shawna and her son before the announcements began, gave them seats away from the bathrooms (so they wouldn’t have to deal with the potential smells), and were friendly from start to finish. (You can read the full note on her blog).

Kudos to JetBlue for going the extra mile and having practices in place that can make traveling a bit smoother – it really does make the difference.

Lynsey, Community Manager

Getting Prepped for Flying

Wings for AutismSummer is just about here, and for a lot of us that means trips to celebrate graduations, weddings, family gatherings, and just good ole’ vacations are on the near horizon. You could be considering flying to your destination, but may be understandably hesitate if you’re concerned how your child/grandchild may do on the plane. Airports and planes can be a source of distress – due to long lines, going through security, plane noises, etc. With that in mind, some airports are hosting programs that will let you ‘practice’ flying – allowing your family to go through the process of flying without actually taking off. This way, your child/grandchild can get a feel for everything in a comfortable environment. Here are some of the programs currently underway, and more are being created in various airports across the country.

Have you tried any of these programs? If so, let us know how it went!

Lynsey, Community Manager