Make air travel easier for children with autism
  • Petitioned Delta Airlines

This petition was delivered to:

President Edward Bastian
Delta Airlines

Make air travel easier for children with autism

    1. Extra Special Kids
    2. Petition by

      Extra Special Kids

      NYC, NY

Autism is an invisible disability, so people who need the extra assistance often don't get it, or are forced to announce their child's medical condition in public, which can be stigmatizing and embarrassing.

Airport travel is especially taxing on a child with autism. The stress created by changes in routine and schedule, extreme sensory input, and standing for long periods of time on check-in and security lines with restricted movement can be debilitating. They don't always understand typical social cues and sometimes can't distinguish what is inappropriate behavior.

When an autistic child is in a state of agitation they become overwhelmed easily and often react in unpredictable or even dangerous ways that disrupt the airport and threaten their well-being.

My husband is English and my parents live in another state, so we travel quite a bit during the holiday season with our two sons, both of whom are on the autism spectrum. We usually fly Delta, because we find the on-board staff to be really accommodating and tolerant.

Our last experience waiting on the security check-in line during Thanksgiving travel was so bad that we actually stayed home this year for Christmas.

Our older son threw a tantrum because he was disturbed that they wanted him to take his jacket off and put his bag on the conveyor belt for screening. He also tried to push past the barrier so he could touch the TSA guard's gun. Our younger son got distracted and ran off when he was supposed to walk through the metal detector, which meant I had to leap across the "do not cross" lines in order to retrieve him.

These incidents are really common occurrences for us and delay the travel process for everybody. The longer we stand on line with them, the worse it seems to get. 

Limiting the amount of time a child with autism has to spend on line, limits their exposure to the outside stressors that causes over stimulation and unmanageable behavior. This benefits everybody. 

By enabling passengers to register their child's autism disability (much like pre-ordering a special meal) at the time of ticket purchase, Delta can give these families priority boarding cards and kids with autism will get the simple allowances they need to make travel more bearable for them and their caretakers.

Delta - April is World Autism Awareness month. Please show your customers how much you care about their children with invisible disabilities and make allowances for them NOW!

Recent signatures

    News

    1. Reached 250 signatures

    Supporters

    Reasons for signing

    • Michelle Sam LONGVIEW, TX
      • almost 2 years ago

      My 13 year old son has autism.

      REPORT THIS COMMENT:
    • Michelle Coe SUNNY ISLES BEACH, FL
      • almost 2 years ago

      My son has Autism.

      REPORT THIS COMMENT:
    • Colleen Sword WELLAND ON, CANADA
      • almost 2 years ago

      Two of my four children are on the autism spectrum, & I never travelled with them on a plane because of their high level of anxiety. This is something I would definitely consider if the airline would provided them with priority boarding. All passengers would benefit from my children not having to wait in line for long periods of time, as the eventually plane ride would be much more manageable.

      REPORT THIS COMMENT:
    • Alice Petersen DURHAM, NC
      • almost 2 years ago

      My 15 y/o son has autism and traveling can be a challenge. Add long lines, food he's not able to eat, and the general stress of travel, if it weren't for understanding airline/airport employees it would really be tough. Having a common sense policy fairly enforced would makie sense and support travelers and employees alike.

      REPORT THIS COMMENT:
    • Mangala Ikram LEAGUE CITY, TX
      • almost 2 years ago

      Traveling with typical children can be difficult and with a child with autism it is 10 times as hard. People need to be aware of the needs of these children to make it easier for everyone at the airport.

      REPORT THIS COMMENT:

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