YLW and Canucks Autism Network team up to increase airport accessibility

November 8, 2018
News release

Kelowna, BC – On Sunday, November 18, Canucks Autism Network (CAN) and Kelowna International Airport (YLW) will be hosting their second annual YLW Accessibility Tour for families living with autism. Held from 2:00-4:30 pm 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 an airport map. In addition to being given out at this month’s tour, the kits are available at any time for individuals and families with autism departing from YLW.

The program also aims to educate airport employees and volunteers on how to accommodate individuals with autism and better anticipate challenging situations.

“We are thrilled to build off the success of last year’s inaugural Accessibility Tour at YLW,” said Katy Harandi, CAN’s President and Chief Executive Officer. “By making air travel more accessible, individuals and families living with autism can experience a new world of possibilities.”

Originally developed with Vancouver International Airport (YVR) in 2014, CAN successfully launched the program at YLW in 2017. In addition to be 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 more information on the program, and to get autism travel resources, visit ylw.kelowna.ca/autism.