JetBlue Airways has teamed up with Autism Speaks to bring families affected by autism a straightforward airport process that will make flying less of a hassle. The Blue Horizons for Autism initiative was launched on Sept. 21 at John F. Kennedy Airport and has received glowing reviews from family and airport personnel.
“Participating in Blue Horizons has been one of the most rewarding experiences in my life,” said Robbie Rosenbaum, general manager of JFK Airport Operations. “It’s great to be able to help these families grow more comfortable with a new experience, and it helps us learn exactly how we can better serve all our customers. I’d encourage everyone to take the time and learn.”
Over 100 families showed up to JFK Airport where they received an exclusive rundown of travel requirements. JetBlue crewmembers, TSA employees, and 10 behavioral specialists were on hand to guide families through the standard airport procedure, including a mock bag check and even a 20-minute airplane taxi ride around JFK.
Following the program's success in New York, Blue Horizons for Autism rehearsals will be featured at five major locations, including Boston, Orlando, Fort Lauderdale, Los Angeles, and San Juan. JetBlue plans on eventually introducing the program to all 79 cities to which they provide service, Fox News reported.
“This was important to me as a crewmember and the parent of a child on the spectrum,” said Corwin Kong, JetBlue’s security manager. “I want to express my heartfelt gratitude for everyone’s participation as our 1st Blue Horizons for Autism Event at T5 was a huge success. My daughter was able to be in an airport for the first time and we stayed for two hours.”
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, one in 88 children is identified with an autism spectrum disorder (ASD). Children who develop some type of ASD usually face problems with social interaction, language, and behavior, which can make the long and tedious process of getting through airport security problematic.