Dulles International Airport recently teamed with United Airlines and The Arc of Northern Virginia to host Wings for All, a simulated air travel experience for individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities.
More than 115 participants and family members attended the fourth annual event on Saturday, March 25, at Dulles International Airport where they were guided through the steps of an airport departure and arrival.
Participants had the opportunity to check in at United Airlines ticket counters, proceed through TSA security screening and navigate to Terminal C via the AeroTrain. United gate agents and a volunteer flight crew then helped passengers board a Boeing 777-200 and prepare for a simulated flight to Baltimore. Following a pre-flight safety briefing and beverage service, participants were given the chance to sit in the cockpit and meet the pilots before disembarking for baggage claim.
“Through the “Wings for All” program, Dulles International and its partners hope participating families will gain the experience and confidence needed to travel through the airport on a future trip,” says Janene Shaw, terminal operations supervisor for Dulles International Airport. Special thanks to all our volunteers at The Arc of Northern Virginia, the Transportation Security Administration, MarketPlace Development and United Airlines for making the event memorable for participants and their families.”
The walk-through rehearsal is intended to make the process of traveling through an airport less overwhelming for people with special needs, providing families who may have previously avoided air travel the confidence they need to embark on a future journey.
For more information on the Wings for All program and to register for a future event, including a schedule fall Wings for All event at Reagan National, visit The Arc online.
The Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority operates Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport, Washington Dulles International Airport, the Dulles Airport Access Highway and the Dulles Toll Road and also manages construction of the Silver Line project, a 23-mile extension of the Washington region’s Metrorail public transit system through Fairfax County and into Loudoun County, Virginia. More than 45 million passengers a year pass through the two airports. The Airports Authority generates more than generates more than 387,000 jobs in the National Capital Region.