Between travelling to the airport, navigating through security and customs, to the flight itself, the idea of plane travel can be very daunting for an autistic person or their family. Luckily, however, airports are growing more conscious of the access needs of autistic passengers. There are several supports available when travelling through our airports. The level of supports varies between airports. The find out more about these supports, just read below.
Dublin Airport offers optional lanyards and wristbands to allow autistic passengers to signal relevant staff at security, passport control or long queues. They have also provided visual guides and social stories so autistic children and their families know what to expect.
- Shannon Airport https://www.shannonairport.ie/passengers/at-the-airport/flying-in/passenger-assistance/
Shannon Airport can be contacted before the flight so that a staff member can be present upon your family’s arrival in the airport. They also provide an orange hat to clearly signal passengers who may be in need of assistance.
Cork Airport provides Sunflower lanyards to indicate to staff which passengers may be in need of support. They also provide Suzie books, designed to help children cope with new situations, free of charge. They also provide social stories to help the child and family prepare ahead of time.
Belfast Airport provides their own lanyards and a selection of social stories. Contacting the airport ahead of time can help in securing additional supports.
As seen above, the level of supports vary depending on the airport. As with any new environment, it’s best practice to research the location carefully beforehand and come equipped with coping strategies, such as noise-cancelling headphones and stim toys. If your airport comes with fewer autism supports, look out for already equipped Prayer Rooms in case you or your family member needs a sensory break.
For more information, check our interview with Conor McDermott about his research on the autistic community and airports.