For many of us, the prospect of going on an aeroplane, especially for the first time, can be daunting in itself. For those with children, it can be even more of an ordeal – trying to settle nerves, control excitement and quell the fear of the unknown. For those with children on the autistic spectrum, however, the idea of having to travel on an aeroplane can be frighteningly overwhelming.
Here at Belfast International Airport we want to turn that daunting experience into a memorable one.
Like any children, there are those on the autistic spectrum to whom flying poses no problem. For some little ones, however, routine and consistency is crucial to their everyday lives and the thought of doing something as out-of-the-ordinary as flying can be very upsetting.
An Autism Awareness Lanyard is available to assist with your journey through the airport and can be collected on the day of travel from the OCS Special Assistance desk in the Check-In Hall on production of your boarding pass.
The lanyard should be shown to Airport Staff where additional assistance or support may be required at any stage of your airport journey.
The lanyard informs staff that a member of your family group may need a little more time to process information and may require additional assistance to prepare for check in and security screening. Staff are also aware that passengers wearing a lanyard may need to remain with family or friends throughout the process. Please note, with the lanyard, you can approach security using the left hand Priority Security lane. Security staff at the boarding pass scanners will then direct you into a Special Assistance Lane from that point.
One lanyard is issued per family and can be worn by any member of the group. It should be kept for future travel as it has the added benefit of being recognised in a number of other UK airports.
You may also choose to book Special Assistance. This request should be made through your Tour Operator or Airline at least 48 hrs in advance of your flight departure. This assistance can simply consist of a member of the assistance team escorting your family through Security and on to the aircraft.
To help prepare for your trip and to ensure that your airport experience is as enjoyable and as stress free as possible, we have recently produced two downloadable and printable booklets.
The first booklet is for your little ones, showing through pictures and words what they should expect during their journey through Belfast International Airport. There are lots of fun activities and interesting facts along the way.
The second booklet is for adults with Autism and is also a useful guide for parents and carers of children with Autism.
If you have any further questions, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org