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SFO to Host Ready Set Fly Event on September 22nd for Individuals with Autism and Developmental Disabilities

Airport partners with The Arc San Francisco and JetBlue for educational program and travel rehearsal experience

San Francisco International Airport (SFO) will host its latest Ready Set Fly event on Saturday, September 22nd to provide a real-world experience of air travel to individuals and families with autism and developmental disabilities. The event, developed in partnership with The Arc San Francisco, will provide guidance and specialized support to families as they participate in an air travel practice. JetBlue will provide an aircraft and crewmember volunteers who will assist with creating a realistic ticketing and boarding experience.

Now in its fourth year at SFO, Ready Set Fly is unique among airport programs supporting individuals with autism and developmental disabilities because of the extensive educational component and the focus on clinical and behavioral strategies to ensure success. SFO has previously partnered with The Arc San Francisco to provide training and education for airport staff with the goal of providing improved support and assistance to individuals with disabilities and their families.

“We are proud to partner with The Arc San Francisco and JetBlue to bring this educational program to SFO,” said Airport Director Ivar C. Satero. “Our goal is to provide an exceptional airport, in service to our communities, and we continue to develop programs to achieve this vision, including in-house disability awareness training and a prototype mobile application to help visually-impaired guests navigate the airport independently.  The Ready Set Fly program, now in its fourth year, demonstrates our commitment to make the airport experience easier and more accessible for all travelers.”

“The onboard experience helps participants get a real feel for a trip by air—and all families deserve the opportunity to fly,” said The Arc San Francisco CEO Matthew Tarver-Wahlquist. “Just as important is an understanding of how to prepare, and that’s what our pre-boarding workshop provides. From assessing your child’s tolerances and triggers to understanding airport rules, regulations, and supports, families who are prepared will have a much more relaxing, comfortable trip—and that’s our goal.”

“Through programs like Ready Set Fly, we are meeting a specific and growing need among our customers,” said Kenneth Johnson, General Manager, San Francisco, JetBlue. “This is a great example of the entire airport community coming together to provide an invaluable experience for families impacted by autism.  Giving families the opportunity to practice the travel experience in a relaxed environment helps many families who never knew if travel was a possibility.”

Within three days of announcing the latest Ready Set Fly event, The Arc San Francisco reported that it had reached its goal of 40 participating families. The half-day event begins with a workshop in which participants will learn helpful specialists’ tips for traveling with disabilities, from accessing special assistance at the airport to clinical strategies for air travel success. Attendees will then move through the ticket counter and security checkpoint process, making their way to a departure gate to board a JetBlue aircraft, where participants will buckle up and get a real feel for air travel…without ever leaving the ground. Media are invited to cover the event; details are as follows:

WHAT:

Ready Set Fly event for individuals with autism and developmental disabilities

VISUAL:

  • Participants going through simulated check-in process at ticket counter and security checkpoint 
  • Interview opportunities with select participating families
  • Stand-up interviews with experts on neuro-developmental challenges from The Arc San Francisco

WHERE:

San Francisco International Airport, International Terminal, Departure Level.  Family practice ticketing and check-in will occur at the JetBlue ticket counter, located at Aisle 10 of the International Terminal Main Hall. Media are also invited to go through the security checkpoint to the departure gate.

WHEN:

Saturday, September 22, 2018

SCHEDULE:

  • 12:30pm Media are welcome to arrive, set up
  • 1:30pm Families go through ticketing, security checkpoint, out to departure gate area
  • 3:00pm Families board JetBlue aircraft
  • 4:00pm Event concludes

SECURITY SCREENING:

Attending media are welcome to access the departure gate area, but will be required to undergo screening at the security checkpoint. All current TSA restrictions on items permitted through security will apply. For more information, please visit: www.tsa.gov/travel.

RSVP & CONTACT:

Please RSVP to Doug Yakel, Public Information Officer at doug.yakel@flysfo.com or (650) 821-4000.

PARKING:

Please park in the International Garage “A” and bring your ticket for validation.  If you require curbside parking, please call in advance.  Space is limited and offered on a first come basis.

About The Arc San Francisco

The Arc San Francisco is a lifelong learning and achievement center for over 700 individuals with developmental disabilities in San Francisco, San Mateoand Marin counties. For over 60 years, The Arc has been widely recognized for its innovation in education and career programs as well as independent living services, health advocacy and a broad range of arts and recreation opportunities.

The Arc supports individuals with autism, Down syndrome and other disabilities to meet the challenges of adulthood while achieving personal goals and lifelong success. Our affiliations with over 200 business, education and health partners enable us to provide successful internships and employment opportunities while offering a more diverse, enriching life experience for those we serve.  For more information, visit http://www.thearcsf.org.

About JetBlue

JetBlue is New York's Hometown Airline®, and a leading carrier in Boston, Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood, Los Angeles (Long Beach), Orlando, and San Juan. JetBlue carries more than 38 million customers a year to 101 cities in the U.S., Caribbean, and Latin America with an average of 1,000 daily flights. For more information please visit jetblue.com.