Kelowna International Airport. —Image: Capital News file Kelowna International Airport. —Image: Capital News file

Kelowna International Airport to help ease people with autism into flying

The tour will take families through the entire pre-flight process

People with autism will have the opportunity to take in the airport experience this Sunday, in an endeavour to help them become more familiar with the process.

For the third straight year, the Kelowna International Airport and the Canucks Autism Network (CAN) will host the YLW Accessibility Tour for individuals with autism and their families. The event will take place from 10 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. on Jan. 26.

“We are thrilled to work with YLW once again to increase autism accessibility at the airport,” said Britt Andersen, Canucks Autism Network’s CEO. “Because of this tour, individuals with autism and their families can more confidently navigate the airport, opening up a world of travel opportunities.”

Air travel can often be challenging for individuals with autism because of anxiety or sensory sensitivities. The tour will familiarize families with the entire pre-flight process, including check-in, security, finding their gate and boarding a plane.

“For many families and individuals living with autism, travel can be very difficult,” said Sam Samaddar, YLW’s airport director. “The YLW Accessibility Tour is about giving families the freedom to fly by experiencing the travel process at the airport firsthand.”

Resource kits will also be handed out at the event, including an activity storybook, step-by-step checklist, tips for travel and airport map. These kits are always available for travellers at the YLW Information Kiosk.

Originally developed with Vancouver International Airport (YVR) in 2014, CAN successfully expanded the program to YLW in 2017. In addition to being hosted by CAN and YLW, the YLW Accessibility Tour is offered in collaboration with the Canadian Air Transport Security Authority (CATSA), WestJet and Autism Okanagan.

READ MORE: YLW soars to over two million passengers for second consecutive year

READ MORE: It will soon cost more to fly in and out of YLW


@michaelrdrguez
michael.rodriguez@kelownacapnews.com

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