Wings for All Program Takes Off at Harrisburg International Airport
Middletown, PA—Saturday, June 18th, the Arc will hold the first Wings for All™ event at Harrisburg International Airport (MDT), in partnership with The Arc of Pennsylvania, The Arc of Cumberland and Perry Counties (CPARC) , Delta Airlines and the Transportation Security Administration (TSA). Wings for All™ is an airport “rehearsal” specially designed for individuals living with intellectual or developmental disabilities (I/DD), their families, and aviation professionals. Originated by the Charles River Center, a local chapter of The Arc in Massachusetts, and the Massachusetts Port Authority, Wings for All™ is designed to alleviate some of the stress that families who have a child with an intellectual or developmental disabilities may experience when traveling by air. The program provides families with the opportunity to practice entering the airport, obtain boarding passes, go through security, and board a plane.
Wings for All™ also gives airport, airline, TSA professionals and other personnel the opportunity to observe, interact and deliver their services in a structured, learning environment.
One hundred families from Central Pennsylvania and beyond have signed up to benefit from this experience. The day will kick off with families arriving at the airport at 1:30pm. Upon arrival, event attendees will check in at the Delta ticket counter to receive their boarding passes. They will proceed through security to the gate where they will board a Delta MD-88 and walk through pre-flight information.
“We’re honored to host Wings for All™ at Harrisburg International Airport. We hope this provides families that were apprehensive about air travel a sense of comfort for future opportunities,” said Timothy Edwards, Executive Director of Harrisburg International Airport.
“This is such an exciting opportunity for us to train airport personnel and to see such an amazing impact on families,” said Pam Klipa, Director of Government Relations and Advocacy at The Arc of Pennsylvania.
“We are proud to be a partner in this wonderful Wings for All™ event. Traveling can be difficult for persons with intellectual/developmental disabilities and autism, so the primary goal is to help families feel more confident about air travel. Our mission at CPARC is to enhance individuals’ independence in society. Wings for All™ will be a tremendous experience to assist persons and families to achieve greater independence,” John Reardon, Executive Director.
“Our son has an autism diagnosis and an intellectual disability. This causes him to have difficulty in new, unique situations and this can trigger his anxiety and lead to some behavior challenges. We have never attempted to travel by air with him. Wings for All™ will allow him to practice the airport experience so that it becomes a familiar experience. We hope to be able to travel by air as a family in the near future,” Anne Couldridge, CPARC Community Developer and parent. “From CPARC’s perspective, I am pleased by the response from the general community about this event. Non-profits like CPARC work hard to provide opportunities for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities but, we also need the community to work with us to create those opportunities. We are truly grateful that HIA, Delta and the TSA have partnered with us and The Arc of Pennsylvania on this event.”
About the Susquehanna Area Regional Airport Authority:
The Susquehanna Area Regional Airport Authority (SARAA) owns HIA, Capital City Airport in New Cumberland and both Franklin County and Gettysburg Regional Airports. Incorporated in 1997, SARAA is a multi-municipal authority whose mission is to serve the region by providing high quality, efficient airports and promoting regional economic development. Combined these four facilities handle about 90,000 aircraft operations and generate a total economic output of more than $990 million annually.