Private airline JetSuiteX has revealed plans to become the first fully certified autism-inclusive carrier by training its staff to help passengers with autism to travel more comfortably.
JetSuiteX is currently in the certification process and 90% of its fronting crew members have completed training on the important issues surrounding travel for those with autism, with the final 10% expected to complete their training in the coming weeks. The training includes instruction on how issues may present in specific situations, and what JetSuiteX crew members can do to help minimize discomfort.
“We initiated the training program in November of 2018 with the intention of extending the simple, joyful JetSuiteX travel experience to individuals with autism and their families,” Kevin Horan, vice president of corporate soul at JetSuiteX exclusively told Business Airport International. “We saw this as our opportunity to empower this group and present a more accessible air travel alternative.
“The training and certification process is tailored to each individual crewmember’s job function and teaches them how to identify and alleviate potential stressors for travelers with autism. Whether it’s safety protocols, food and beverage, or general needs of someone with autism, the program instructs our crewmembers on how issues may present to travelers with autism and how to they can help.”
The company has partnered with Autism Double-Checked on this initiative and hosted a special event inviting families and kids with autism to participate in a mock flight on April 27 at the Burbank Airport in Burbank, California. Those who registered experienced checking-in and boarding an aircraft without actually flying anywhere.
According to Horan, JetSuiteX provides an affordable alternative to commercial air travel: “Although we operate out of private terminals, the cost to fly with JetSuiteX is similar to flying commercial – with flights starting at US$59 [£45] each way. By operating out of private terminals on spacious, comfortable 30-seat Embraer 135 aircraft while bypassing the long lines, crowds and hassles associated with major airports, JetSuiteX provides an experience that reduces many potential stressors.”
Horan continued, “We would love to see this specialist training become a standard practice across all air travel providers. It’s a responsibility of the travel industry, as an extension of the hospitality industry, to ensure every individual feels safe and comfortable. This training process has shed a great light on the difficulties individuals with autism and their loved ones face while traveling, and why often times they choose to avoid air travel at all. With the proper specialist training, other private air carriers can join us in empowering their crewmembers to create a more inclusive industry.”