Program offers airport practice for people with disabilities


FORT WAYNE — Easterseals Arc of Northeast Indiana, Fort Wayne International Airport, and Allegiant will present Wings for All® on April 27, 2019.

Wings for All® is an airport “rehearsal” specially designed for individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities and their families. Participants will practice entering the airport, obtaining boarding passes, going through security, and boarding a plane. The plane will not taxi or take off.

This is the third year for the event in Fort Wayne. About 100 people participated each of the first two years, when the event was called Wings for Autism. The Wings for All name is intended to welcome more families.

“We got really positive feedback from the families who attended in previous years, and we wanted to make it clear that it’s not limited to people with autism,” said Janet Schutte, Easterseals Arc director of communications and marketing. “A rehearsal like this can help individuals with a wide range of disabilities feel more comfortable and prepared to take a real flight.”

The event is free to participants, however advance registration at is required due to security policies and limited seating on the plane.

“Fort Wayne International Airport is honored to host Wings for All, and once again partner with

Easterseals Arc of Northeast Indiana and Allegiant Airlines on this event,” said Scott Hinderman, Executive Director of Airports. “This is a wonderful community event that promotes inclusivity and accessibility. The airport is happy to welcome these individuals and their families to help make their future travels as smooth and enjoyable as possible.”

Allegiant participates in numerous Wings for Autism®/Wings for All® events throughout the country each year.

“We are thrilled to be here in Fort Wayne helping host Wings for All®,” said Allegiant’s Managing Director of Corporate Communications Hilarie Grey. “These events provide a fantastic learning experience for participants, and also for our Allegiant crew members. We value the opportunity to learn how to better serve our passengers with intellectual and developmental disabilities, and further support our mission of making travel more accessible to everyone.”

Lutheran Children’s Hospital and Northeast Indiana Autism Connection also have provided assistance with planning the event.

Wings for Autism®/Wings for All® is a program of The Arc developed in 2010 by The Charles River Center (a chapter of The Arc) in collaboration with the Massachusetts Port Authority, the Transportation Security Administration and several air carriers based at Boston Logan Airport.

The experience of air travel can be difficult for many people with autism and other intellectual/developmental disabilities, as well as aviation personnel supporting these passengers. Rehearsing many aspects of air travel through Wings for Autism®/Wings for All® helps reduce anxiety and overcome many challenges.

Wings for All®

What: Wings for All® is a free airport “rehearsal” for individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities and their families

Who: The event is presented by Easterseals Arc of Northeast Indiana, Fort Wayne International Airport, and Allegiant Air

When: Saturday, April 27, 2019. Check-in begins at 1 p.m.

Where: Fort Wayne International Airport

Registration: Advance registration is required at Deadline is Thursday, April 18.