From the Houston Airport System online newsroom
The Inaugural HOU Wings for All was held at William P. Hobby Airport (HOU) on June 12 and provided families with a real-life simulation of the air travel experience.
Through Wings for All, local families of children with autism and other intellectual disabilities practice going through the airport and getting onboard aircraft, so that when it is time for an actual trip, they are more familiar with the process and their surroundings.
During the HOU event, families practiced obtaining boarding passes, passing through TSA security, waiting in the boarding area and boarding an airplane. While on the plane, they buckled up, enjoyed a beverage and snack if they chose, and listened to the pilots and inflight crew’s announcements.
They also had the opportunity to familiarize themselves with the seats, tray tables and aircraft restrooms.
Wings for All gave all parties involved the opportunity to observe, interact and deliver their services in a structured, learning environment.
Houston Airports, the Transportation Security Administration (TSA), Southwest Airlines, Arc of Texas, Autism Society, and Down Syndrome Association of Houston were all involved in the event, according to Trai Hicks, Assistant Customer Service Manager at HOU.
Hicks said the event was a resounding success and struck an additional chord with him as his youngest brother Patrick is on the autism spectrum. “As the event organizer,” Hicks said, “I must say it was close to perfect, with so many different organizations involved. Everyone went above and beyond to make this event flow flawlessly.”
The event, to be held annually, also included the HOU Pet Therapy Canines, Southwest Disney Princesses, and additional educational vendors that briefed during the reception.