Tucson International Airport Set to Assist With Second “Fly SAAFE” Program

The second Fly SAAFE (Southern Arizona Autism Flight Event) program will make its way to the Tucson International Airport (TUS) on April 12 with the partnership of TUS, Tucson Alliance for Autism (TAFA), Transportation Security Administration (TSA) and American Airlines (AA). The event will provide families who have a child or children with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD), the opportunity to have a “curb-to-plane” experience at the airport to be better prepared for travel.

The flight rehearsal provides families the opportunity to simulate the steps involved in traveling through an airport. The experience includes airport parking, entering the airport, checking a bag, going through security, waiting at the gate, boarding the airplane, preflight safety, exiting the airplane, collecting their bag at baggage claim and departing the airport.

This program is beneficial for children with autism as it allows the child to go through the airport and airplane boarding process at their own pace, helping them to process what’s going on and learning what to expect. Fly SAAFE is designed to alleviate some of the stress that families have when traveling by air. There will be experts from TAFA, TUS, and TSA, along with volunteers, to help each family at every step of the process.

The Fly SAAFE event will take place Tuesday April 12 from 5 to 7 p.m. and is open to all families affected by ASD. Space is limited and registration through TAFA is required. Contact the Tucson Alliance for Autism at (520) 319-5857 or programdirector@tucsonallianceforautism.org to register.