“Wings for All” Celebrating 5-year Anniversary at ABE
May 6, 2019
Air travel experience for individuals with autism on May 11th
Five years ago, individuals in the Lehigh Valley with autism and other intellectual and developmental disabilities with sensory sensitivities may have dreamed of air travel.
The Arc of Lehigh & Northampton Counties and its partner, Lehigh Valley International Airport (ABE) has become a valuable resource for turning dreams into reality.
On Saturday, May 11th, Wings for All® – which has impacted more than 250 individuals in the region – is celebrating its 5-year Anniversary at ABE.
The event will run from 9:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m.
A trademarked program of The Arc of The United States, which is conducted locally, Wings for All® provides a unique rehearsal event for individuals with autism and other intellectual and developmental disabilities to have a real-life experience using an airport when traveling by plane.
“Thanks to our incredible partners at LVIA and Allegiant Air, the Lehigh Valley community has become more inclusive for people with autism and other intellectual and developmental disabilities who want to take a dream vacation or visit family and friends who may live far away,” said Karen Shoemaker, Executive Director of The Arc of Lehigh and Northampton Counties.
Wings for All® participants experience the following:
- proceeding to the ticket counter
- security clearance by the Transportation Security Administration (TSA)
- walking through the Main Terminal and Wilfred M. “Wiley” Post Departure Concourse
- boarding the Allegiant aircraft
- Depart the aircraft and enjoy refreshments during a special reception, courtesy of ABE
“The entire day allows the participants the opportunity to face challenges and hopefully eliminate the anxiety of traveling by plane. It really provides inspiration for everyone involved and we are always extremely proud of the dedicated efforts each year by staff, volunteers, Allegiant and The Arc,” said Thomas R. Stoudt, Executive Director, Lehigh-Northampton Airport Authority.
For a fourth consecutive year, Allegiant is providing staff and an aircraft for Wings for All®.
“Long lines, loud noises, and anxiety are all part of the airport experience. For individuals with cognitive disabilities and their families, air travel can be extremely difficult. Allegiant is excited to partner with the Arc of Lehigh and Northampton Counties and the Lehigh-Northampton Airport Authority to provide a close up learning experience for both families and our crews. This event aims to help reduce stress for future travel and furthers our mission of making travel accessible to everyone,” said Hilarie Grey, Managing Director of Corporate Communications.
More than 40 volunteers will be on hand to assist the individuals and families to successfully complete the experience, with helpful tips and suggestions they can use when traveling by air in the future.
In 2018, Lehigh Valley International Airport, in collaboration with the Arc of Lehigh and Northampton Counties teamed-up to construct a “Sensory Room” – only the third sensory room located at an airport in the world.
The Sensory Room is located in the Departure Area, the room is equipped with Mondo flooring, low frequency lighting, mounted projector and other sensory equipment.
“Unveiling the sensory room last year demonstrated the Airport’s commitment to being an aviation leader within the region and has become an important tool for our passengers,” said LNAA Executive Director Tom Stoudt.
Click on the link below to learn more about the Sensory Room at Lehigh Valley International Airport (ABE).
Lehigh Valley International Airport is conveniently located near Allentown, Bethlehem and Easton, Pennsylvania. Allegiant Air, American, Delta and United have 13 nonstop destinations to both leisure destinations and major airline hubs with connections to the world. ABE’s nonstop destinations include: Atlanta, Charlotte, Chicago, Detroit, Fort Lauderdale, Myrtle Beach (seasonal), Nashville (seasonal), Newark, Orlando, Philadelphia, Punta Gorda, Savannah / Hilton Head and Tampa Bay. For more information on LNAA, visit www.flyabe.com or facebook.com/flyabe.
About The Arc:
Celebrating more than 50 years, The Arc of Lehigh and Northampton Counties touches the lives of more than 1,500 local individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities and their families each year, providing services and support they need to live full and productive lives. The Arc of Lehigh and Northampton Counties is affiliated with The Arc of Pennsylvania, The Arc of the United States and local chapters of The Arc across Pennsylvania.
Las Vegas-based Allegiant (NASDAQ: ALGT) is focused on linking travelers to world-class leisure destinations. The airline offers industry-low fares on an all-jet fleet while also offering other travel-related products such as hotel rooms and rental cars. All can be purchased only through the company website, Allegiant.com. Beginning with one aircraft and one route in 1999, the company has grown to over 80 aircraft and more than 300 routes across the country with base airfares less than half the cost of the average domestic round-trip ticket. For downloadable press kit, including photos, visit: http://gofly.us/ToZT30iauev.