Cedar Rapids/Iowa City – The Eastern Iowa Airport (CID) will serve as the host airport for its first Wings for All® event on May 5.
CID is collaborating with The Arc of Southeast Iowa, Allegiant Air and the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) for its first event that serves as a “dress rehearsal” specially designed for individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities (I/DD), their families and aviation professionals.
As a national program of The Arc, Wings for All® helps alleviate some of the stress people with disabilities and their families experience when traveling by air. The program provides families with the opportunity to participate in the entire airport experience by practicing entering the airport, obtaining boarding passes, going through security and boarding an airplane.
“De-stressing the travel experience is always one of our goals,” says Marty Lenss, CID airport director. “This program is a wonderful way for individuals with developmental disabilities to experience the process. We want to show people that travel is accessible to everyone so they will feel comfortable in the future to take a trip.”
Chelsey Markle, vice president of programs for The Arc of Southeast Iowa says this event is a great learning opportunity.
“Our hope is that this event will help alleviate stress for individuals with disabilities and their families by giving them a chance to go through the process in a more intimate setting—ultimately easing their minds for future travels,” she says. “It is certain to be a wonderful learning opportunity, not just for the participants but also for our volunteers as well as airport staff and security. We are grateful for the support of our community partners and sponsors for making this event possible.”
“We are excited to be bringing the Wings for All® program to Cedar Rapids. For parents of children with autism spectrum disorders, everyday tasks can sometimes prove to be far more difficult for their child,” says Peter Berns, CEO of The Arc. “Air travel can prove particularly challenging between clearing security, the overwhelming noises, and harsh lights. This program will not only alleviate the stress children and their parents may feel, but help educate airport and airline professionals about how best to serve children with autism or other intellectual and developmental disabilities in the future.”
Wings for All® also gives airport, airline professionals and other personnel the opportunity to observe, interact and deliver their services in a structured learning environment.
The CID flight will feature an Allegiant Airbus 320 with 177 seats, allowing 88 families to participate.
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About The Eastern Iowa Airport – CID
CID has non-stop service to 14 destinations on five airlines: Allegiant: Las Vegas (LAS), Orlando Sanford (SFB), Phoenix/Mesa (AZA), Punta Gorda/Ft. Meyers (PGD), St. Pete/Tampa (PIE), seasonal service to Los Angeles (LAX); American Airlines: Charlotte (CLT), Chicago (ORD) and Dallas/Ft. Worth (DFW): Delta: Atlanta (ATL), Detroit (DTW), Minneapolis (MSP); Frontier Airlines: Seasonal service to Denver (DEN) and Orlando International (MCO) ;United Airlines: Chicago (ORD) and Denver (DEN)
For more information, go to FlyCID.com
The Arc is the largest national community-based organization advocating for and serving people with intellectual and developmental disabilities, including autism, Down syndrome, cerebral palsy and various other developmental disabilities. The Arc has a network of more than 650 chapters across the country promoting and protecting the human rights of people with I/DD and actively supporting their full inclusion and participation in the community throughout their lifetimes and without regard to diagnosis.