Airport Accessibility Tour lands at YLW with Canucks Autism Network

January 21, 2020
News release

On Sunday, January 26th, Canucks Autism Network (CAN) and Kelowna International Airport (YLW) will host their third annual YLW Accessibility Tour for individuals with autism and their families. Held from 10:00 a.m.-12:30 p.m. in the YLW WestJet check-in area, over 70 individuals are expected at the event.

Due to anxiety or sensory sensitivities, air travel can present significant challenges for individuals with autism. The tour will take families through the entire pre-flight process, including check-in, security, finding their gate and boarding a plane.

Families will also receive Resource Kits with tools to better prepare for air travel, including an activity storybook, step-by-step checklist, tips for travel and airport map. The kits are available for departing travelers at any time at the YLW Information Kiosk.

YLW’s partnership with CAN also aims to educate airport staff and volunteers on how to accommodate individuals with autism and better anticipate challenging situations.

“We are thrilled to work with YLW once again to increase autism accessibility at the airport,” said Britt Andersen, Canucks Autism Network’s Chief Executive Officer. “Because of this tour, individuals with autism and their families can more confidently navigate the airport, opening up a world of travel opportunities.”

Originally developed with Vancouver International Airport (YVR) in 2014, CAN successfully expanded the program to YLW in 2017. In addition to being hosted by CAN and YLW, the YLW Accessibility Tour is offered in collaboration with the Canadian Air Transport Security Authority (CATSA), WestJet and Autism Okanagan.

“For many families and individuals living with autism, travel can be very difficult,” said Sam Samaddar, Airport Director, Kelowna International Airport. “The YLW Accessibility Tour is about giving families the freedom to fly by experiencing the travel process at the airport firsthand.”

For more information about YLW’s autism accessibility resources, please visit ylw.kelowna.ca/autism.