Wings for All® lands at Oakland International Airport

Oakland, California – December 1, 2018: The Arc of the East Bay, Manos Home Care and Southwest Airlines and The Arc of the United States will co-host a Wings for All® event at Oakland International Airport (OAK), Saturday, December 1, 2018. This event is being held in partnership with the Transportation Security Administration (TSA). Originated by the Charles River Center, a local chapter of The Arc in Massachusetts, and the Massachusetts Port Authority, Wings for Autism®/Wings for All® program is an airport “rehearsal” created to alleviate some of the stress that individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities and their families experience when traveling by air.

During the event, participants will check in to receive their boarding passes, pass through the TSA security checkpoint, wait in the boarding area and board the aircraft. The program will feature a presentation on the aircraft’s features, in-flight safety protocols and take-off procedures. Wings for Autism®/Wings for All® also gives airport, airline, TSA professionals and other personnel the opportunity to observe, interact and deliver their services in a structured, learning environment.

This event is open to all individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities in the greater Oakland area and beyond who seek a safe but realistic experience of travelling through a busy airport.

“The Port of Oakland and Oakland International Airport are proud to host this wonderful event.  We have an outstanding partnership with Southwest Airlines as well as TSA.  The collective support of this program is so important, as this event wouldn’t be possible otherwise.  OAK strives to provide a comfortable and positive travel experience for all of its customers, and we thank The Arc for introducing its program here to address this specific segment of air travelers,” said Bryant L. Francis, OAK’s Director of Aviation.

“We are excited to bring the Wings for All® program to Oakland, CA. For parents of children with autism spectrum disorders and other intellectual and developmental disabilities, everyday tasks can sometimes prove to be far more difficult for their child. Air travel can prove particularly challenging between clearing security, the overwhelming noises, and harsh lights. This program will not only continue to alleviate the stress children and their parents may feel, but further help educate airport and airline professionals about how best to serve children with autism or other intellectual and developmental disabilities in the future,” said Peter Berns, CEO of The Arc.

The Arc – The Arc advocates for and serves people with I/DD, including Down syndrome, autism, Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders, cerebral palsy and other diagnoses. The Arc has a network of more than 650 chapters across the country promoting and protecting the human rights of people with I/DD and actively supporting their full inclusion and participation in the community throughout their lifetimes and without regard to diagnosis.

Editor’s Note: The Arc is not an acronym; always refer to us as The Arc, not The ARC and never ARC. The Arc should be considered as a title or a phrase.

About Oakland International Airport

Oakland International is the fourth busiest airport in California and second busiest in the San Francisco Bay Area. Serving over 13 million travelers annually, OAK is the closest airport to the region’s top business and tourism venues. It is also the closest airport for most residents. Oakland’s air service roster to over 60 destinations is scheduled on 12 different airline brands – seven of which operate with OAK as their sole gateway into the San Francisco Bay region.

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Allecia Sanford


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