Wings for Autism™ at Seattle-Tacoma International Airport!

On January 25, 2014 The Arc began national expansion of the Wings for Autism™ program with an event at Seattle-Tacoma International Airport (Sea-Tac). The event was held in partnership with Alaska Airlines, the Port of Seattle, the Transportation Security Administration (TSA), and The Arc of King County.

This event gave 40 families an opportunity to get the full airport experience from clearing security to deplaning post “flight”. On the day of the event families arrived at the airport and checked in at the Alaska Airlines ticket counter. After receiving their boarding passes, they continued through the TSA security lane and on to the gate. A very special feature of this particular event was the use of a plane that was the winning entry in the Hawaii-theme Paint the Plane contest. Once everyone had cleared security, the group was greeted by the Port of Seattle Commissioner, John Creighton, The Arc of King County Executive Director, Sylvia Fuerstenberg , and Aaron Garrett, the young man with autism who had submitted the winning entry to the Paint the Plane contest.

Following statements by the host organizations, gate agents announced it was time to board the plane. In small groups families boarded the plane with the help of flight attendants and a very enthusiastic pilot who is a father to a child on the spectrum. The plane taxied for 30 minutes and stopped for a short time for snacks to be distributed. A reception hosted by HMS Host helped conclude an exciting event that benefited parents, children, and airport, airline, and TSA professionals.