TSA to assist travelers with autism and their families with a practice run at Wilkes-Barre/Scranton International Airport to familiarize them with a security checkpoint

Local Press Release
Tuesday, September 3, 2019

SCRANTON, Pa. — The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) will participate in a “Wings for All” event at the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton International Airport (AVP) this month to help travelers with autism and their families become familiar with passenger procedures at the security checkpoint prior to their taking an actual flight. Participants are also encouraged to bring a bag to “check,” so that they can pick up at baggage claim after event. 

The familiarization event, which is conducted through the Arc of Northeastern Pennsylvania, will see participants arrive at the TSA security checkpoint with the typical carry-on bags and items that they would usually bring for a flight. TSA officers will guide the families through the checkpoint process so that they know what to expect when they return to the airport to take a flight.

The September 21st event at AVP is fully booked but families that are interested in participating in a future Wings for All event at a nearby airport can go to https://thearc.org/our-initiatives/travel/ for more information.

“We are proud to be participating in this event because we understand that travelers with autism may find the sights and sounds at a checkpoint distracting,” said Michael Kichline, TSA’s Assistant Federal Security Director for the airport. “If we can make a difference in helping ensure a smooth airport experience for these families when they return for an actual flight, we are more than happy to do so. This type of partnership opens communications between TSA, families and travelers on the autism spectrum and intellectual disabilities so that TSA officers might learn how to best work with them.”

TSA has a special helpline for individuals who travel with autism and medical conditions called “TSA Cares.” The TSA Cares helpline provides travelers with disabilities, medical conditions and other special circumstances additional assistance during the security screening process. It is recommended that individuals call 72 hours prior to traveling with questions about screening policies, procedures and what to expect at the security checkpoint. (855) 787-2227 or Federal Relay: 711. The helpline is available weekdays from 8 a.m. to 11 p.m. ET and on weekends and holidays from 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. ET.