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Massport Hosts 20th Wings for Autism Event

Massport Hosts 20th Wings for Autism Event
Wings for Autism Signage

The program has been modeled at nearly 70 other airports

BOSTON – The Massachusetts Port Authority (Massport) hosted its 20th Wings for Autism® event at Boston Logan International Airport on Saturday, November 5 after a three year hiatus. Launched in 2011, the Wings for Autism® program is specifically designed for families with children on the autism spectrum, to help ease the stress of flying. Massport hosts a “dress rehearsal” open house in the spring and fall to provide families the opportunity to experience travel through Logan Airport. This program was developed by Massport in partnership with the Charles River Center, JetBlue Airways, TSA, Massachusetts State Police and the Logan airport community, and is now modeled at nearly 70 other airports. JetBlue and Delta provided a total of three aircraft for this year’s event.

“Air travel – or travel of any kind – can be difficult for families with children on the autism spectrum and events like Wings for Autism® allow them to prepare for the flying experience in a controlled environment where they can familiarize themselves with the sights, sounds and stressors they may face during an actual trip,” said Massport CEO Lisa Wieland. “I’d like to thank the Charles River Center, TSA, JetBlue, Delta and our airport community for their collaboration and support. It’s a testament to the great partnerships we have here at Logan Airport.”

“By offering children with autism and their families a step-by-step airport experience, Wings for Autism® opens up the world to these families so they can travel together,” said Anne-Marie Bajwa, President and CEO of the Charles River Center. “Massport and TSA staff, as well as the airline partners, donate their time to Wings For Autism®, which is truly a gift. Families gain the confidence they need to travel, even as staff and crew learn about recognizing and accommodating families with special needs. It’s a win-win for everyone involved.”

Massport has hosted more than 7,500 children and family members at the prior 19 events, including one at Worcester Regional Airport. At these events, families are able to navigate the different phases of the airport travel process including checking in with their airline, undergoing the security screening process, finding and waiting at their assigned gate and finally, boarding the plane. The event also provides a valuable training opportunity for airport, airline and TSA personnel to learn how to accommodate neurodivergent children and their families, while also increasing awareness within the airport community.

“At JetBlue, we believe that every family deserves to experience the joys of flight and to see air travel as a possibility,” said Icema Gibbs, Vice President of CSR & DEI at JetBlue. “We are proud of our long-standing partnership with the Massachusetts Port Authority and The Charles River Center, and to reinforce our mission of inspiring humanity through the dedicated service our crewmembers show to the communities where we live, work, and fly. As November marks our annual JetBlue For Good Month, we are even more excited to welcome families to this year’s 20th anniversary Wings for Autism® program.”

“We are a proud partner in this initiative to help contribute to a stress-free and enjoyable air travel experience for families who have children on the autism spectrum,” said Ravindra Dadhich, Director of Airport Operations in Boston for Delta Air Lines. “Our airport welcomes all visitors, and providing each with a seamless, hospitable and reliable travel experience has always been our focus. We look forward to hosting this event at Boston Logan International Airport and giving these families the opportunity to navigate our airport at their own pace.”

Over the last three years, Massport has spent time reimagining the passenger experience, which has led to integrating new touchless technology to create a more efficient travel experience. For families with children on the autism spectrum planning to travel, these types of improvements can reduce the need for multiple social interactions within the airport through features like live virtual customer service, and decrease waiting periods for things like parking and pre-ordering food in the terminals. To meet the growing demand for more touchless travel technologies, Massport developed FlyLogan, a free mobile app where passengers can access information about the airport, access  enhanced Wi-Fi and custom flight information, mobile food ordering, purchase Logan Express e-tickets, on-airport parking reservations, live virtual customer service, and other helpful information about the airport.

“We are proud to welcome back the Charles River Center and hundreds of families to this great event at Logan,” said Massport Deputy Director of Aviation Customer Service Mia Healy-Waldron. “Through events like Wings for Autism® and implementing new touchless technology at the airport, we are working every day to create a more efficient travel experience for all of our passengers.”

The next Wings for Autism® event at Logan Airport will take place in the spring of 2023.

About the Charles River Center

The Charles River Center is a private, nonprofit human service agency in Needham, Massachusetts that has been providing programs and services for children and adults with developmental and other disabilities since 1956. Founded by a group of parents with children with special needs, the mission of Charles River Center is to empower and support people with developmental disabilities and their families by offering high-quality, individualized opportunities that foster independence and community inclusion.

About Massport

Powering What’s Possible. The Massachusetts Port Authority (Massport) owns and operates Boston Logan International Airport, public terminals in the Port of Boston, Hanscom Field, and Worcester Regional Airport. For more information, please visit