Emirates hosts familiarization flight for families with neurodiverse children


In a move to promote accessible travel and raise awareness about autism, Emirates recently held a unique “Autism Familiarization Flight” for 30 families with neurodiverse children.

The event, which took place on April 24th at Dubai International Airport (DXB), aimed to help children with autism and sensory sensitivities become more comfortable with the airport and flying experience.

The initiative allowed families to go through a realistic airport journey, including check-in, security, and boarding procedures, culminating in a short flight aboard an Emirates aircraft.

The experience aimed to alleviate anxieties often associated with travel for neurodiverse individuals and their families.

“According to a study by the International Board of Credentialing and Continuing Education Standards (IBCCES), only 13% of families with neurodiverse children surveyed take family vacations because they cite the experience of the airport and flight as too stressful,” the press release stated.

Emirates collaborated with various organizations, including the Dubai Autism Centre and the Safe Centre for Autism, to ensure the event catered to the specific needs of the participants.

Specially trained staff and crew were present throughout the journey to offer support and guidance.

The airline is also working towards achieving an official Autism-friendly inflight certification from IBCCES. This certification would complement Emirates’ existing efforts in promoting accessibility, including the recent recognition of DXB as the first international airport to earn the Certified Autism Center™ designation.

Emirates offers various support services for passengers with hidden disabilities, such as pre-flight information, priority boarding, and specially designed “Fly with Me” activity packs for children.

Additionally, over 29,000 Emirates cabin crew and ground staff have completed training on autism and hidden disabilities.

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