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Many of us who read this blog are very frequent travelers, and probably most of us don’t think twice about boarding planes and flying.  In fact, on my most recent flight on Allegiant we flew into CVG in the middle of a thunderstorm and the turbulence coming in was pretty intense.  Even with the plane shimmying all over the place, I still felt fairly calm.

[Is Allegiant the world’s dumbest airline?]

Since we were sitting in literally the last row of the plane, I could see the flight attendants in the rear galley, and since they were just idly chatting without any concern, I deduced that we were probably okay 🙂

an airplane with rows of seats

Flying with special needs

We all know the statistics that say that you are 100 times more likely to die in a car crash than in an airplane but still, many people have a much harder time flying.  In addition to people who have a fear of flying (aviophobia), some people who have special needs (including autism) have a hard time knowing what to expect and how to act on an airplane.

One of my children has autism, though thankfully she is fairly mild on the spectrum and didn’t really have a problem flying with us.  Even so, we were sure to talk through what the experience would be like, what the expectations would be, etc.  To this day, several days later, she still talks / quotes the lines from the TSA kids video (though I prefer the parody video)

MSP’s flight to nowhere

I read an article in the Minneapolis Star Tribune about how MSP airport has started a “Navigating MSP” program which offers monthly runs that will allow anyone to

  • Experience TSA security
  • Explore the terminal
  • Board a plane and meet a pilot
  • Prepare for takeoff
  • Gather helpful tips, info & resources

The article shares the story of a Minnesota family that had a trip to Disney World.  But because of fears that their autistic son would not do well on an airplane flight, they instead drove the 1500 miles to Orlando.  The Navigating MSP program aims to help families like them to be able to get people ready for their first flight

Similar airport familiarity programs exist in Atlanta, Boston and other cities

Have you ever taken a “flight to nowhere” like this to help someone learn how to navigate an airport?

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