With air travel poised to reach pre-pandemic levels this year, many families will undoubtedly be making up for lost time. After all, sharing the gift of travel with kids can provide them with enriching experiences and memories to last a lifetime. But a trip to the airport can be stressful and even more so for those with autism spectrum disorders.
So Aéroports de Montréal, in partnership with Autism Montreal and Giant Steps Montreal, will be hosting some very special passengers as part of its 9th annual Premium Kids Program on April 9.
Eric Forest, spokesperson for Aéroports de Montréal, says travel should be accessible to all. “Despite the fact that airport processes are regulated, Aéroports de Montréal is making every effort within its terminal and through customer experience to provide a safe and secure process for all passengers, including those with special needs,” he said.
The program helps kids become familiar with airport procedures and reduces anxiety about flying. It also gives the employees a chance to see how they can improve processes to accommodate passengers with special needs.
The event, which takes place at the Montréal-Trudeau International Airport, will simulate a real trip. Forest says participants can expect to experience the airport journey, from arriving at the parking lot to boarding a plane and listening to in-flight security instructions.
Families or kids wishing to participate will need to complete a registration form. Spaces are limited. Participants over the age of 12 will need to be fully vaccinated. Participants over the age of 2 will need to wear a mask for the duration of the event. Participation is free.
Forest notes that after having to cancel program in 2020 and 2021 because of the pandemic, parents will once again have the opportunity to assess the level of comfort of their child and give them hope that one day, they’ll be able to travel as a family.
He adds that one family of five was able to go to Disney World after participating in the activity for three consecutive years. The first year, their child could not make it past the parking lot and he was able to finally make it to the plane, which was a wonderful achievement.
For more information, visit admtl.com/en/adm/communities/social-responsibilty/community-involvement.