Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) Americans with Disability Act coordinator Lawrence Rolon said families with autism should not give up flying.
To prepare for this Holiday Season, Los Angeles Airport issued a series of tips to make traveling with a disability as seamless as possible.
While the Ai Carrier Access Act does not require to book support, LAX suggests disabled passengers should tell the airline at least three days before the date of departure if they will need help once at the airport.
The airline should be told advance about equipment needed for mobility such as a wheelchair or scooter, and about medical oxygen or portable dialysis equipment.
Passengers should remember to ask about documents needed when traveling with a guide dog, comfort animal or psychiatric service animal.
People with mobility restrictions should always book wheelchair service when making flight reservations. Travelers who do not remember to book wheelchair service may have to wait for an available wheelchair due to heavy demand during peak traffic time.
LAX ADA coordinator Lawrence Rolon said many families with autism have expressed their hesitation at flying because of the public misconception of a sudden outburst by a person with autism.
“If the person with autism becomes unruly while waiting for a flight, ask airline personnel if there is a quiet area where you can go until the family member calms down. They will try to accommodate your request,” Lawrence Rolon said.
When possible, people with autism should board the plane when the pre-boarding announcement is made. “If necessary ask the boarding agent prior to the boarding announcement being made, if you can board first,” the ADA coordinator said. “Once on the plane, let the flight attendant know you are traveling with someone who has autism. Flight attendants are trained in working with families with autism during flights.”
The ADA coordinator also suggests families contact TSA Cares at least three days before your flight to arrange for special screening on arrival at the airport. TSA Cares can be reached at 1-855-787-2227 to arrange for special screening at least three days before your flight. TSA Cares can answer disability related questions on allowed items and restrictions.
Once at the security check-point, families should let the TSA representative know of sensitivities the person with autism has.
In Europe, Dublin Airport set the European benchmark for passengers with Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD). Working with Irish Autism Action, the Irish airport created a dedicated page on its website to help parents and carers prepare their journey ahead of getting to the airport.
Visual guides of both terminals are available to download. The guides are useful to support individuals with autism understand situations like check-in gates or security check points and give a short description of the situation and information about what to expect and why. Follow this link to visit Dublin Airport Autism ASD page.(link opens a new window)
Do you travel with a family member with Autism? Do you think airports and airlines do enough to make your journey easier? Post your comments on Reduced Mobility Rights Facebook page or tell us your story using the contact form.