BCPS in the News

Students With Autism Practice the Travel Experience at the 4th Annual Autism in Flight

Tuesday, May 17, 2016
–  Excellent Feature Story and Photo/Video Opportunity –

From checking-in at the ticket counter to walking through security and boarding a JetBlue airliner, approximately 40 students with autism have the opportunity to navigate the airport experience firsthand in an effort to help reduce stress on an actual flight. The fourth annual Autism in Flight event culminates a six-week classroom airport travel study and preparation. On the day of the event, students and family members pack their bags and meet at the airport for an opportunity to practice the travel experience in a realistic, relaxed setting, allowing families and children to be better prepared for future travel.

Broward County Public Schools (BCPS) is proud to once again partner with JetBlue, a leading carrier in Fort Lauderdale, and Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport, to host the fourth annual Autism in Flight event. Students with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) from six BCPS elementary schools are participating: Coconut Palm Elementary School, Dania Elementary School, Floranada Elementary School, Norcrest Elementary School, Park Springs Elementary School and Silver Lakes Elementary School.

The Autism in Flight event will include:
Trained JetBlue crewmembers providing assistance throughout the process, which will include check-in, walking through security and boarding the plane at the gate.
Behavioral consultants from BCPS volunteering throughout the day to assist students with any issues that might arise.

The use of a stationary JetBlue aircraft for families to practice the boarding process, allowing students to experience sitting on a plane, as well as fastening a seatbelt and being served by in-flight crewmembers.
Pilots and flight attendants onboard to simulate the true onboard experience.
The opportunity to meet and interact with the pilots and in-flight crewmembers.

WHEN:          Wednesday, May 18, 2016
11 a.m.                 Students and families arrive
11:30 a.m.            Opening remarks
Noon                    Check-in and ticketing (JetBlue Counter)
1 p.m.                   Security process/TSA check-in
2 p.m.                  Announcements in the gate area and boarding
3 p.m.                   Wrap up

JetBlue, Terminal 3 – Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport (Baggage Area, Carousel 8)
*Media must RSVP to Tamara Young at JetBlue to obtain a gate pass (see contact info below).
Taking a family vacation with a child with autism can be stressful. The purpose of the event is to stimulate the experience of commercial airline travel. Autism in Flight is part of JetBlue’s ongoing Blue Horizons for Autism platform.  Air travel can be challenging for individuals affected by autism due to symptoms associated with the disorder, including hypersensitivity to large crowds, loud noises and communication difficulties. As a result, many families do not fly due to the fear of the response it could elicit from their children with autism, and subsequently fellow travelers and airline crewmembers. JetBlue offers autism programs throughout its 85-city network. The Autism in Flight program is made possible, thanks to JetBlue Airways, Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport, Transportation Security Administration, Broward County Board of County Commissioners, Broward Sheriff’s Office and the Hudson Group.
Families practicing the travel experience, going through TSA security
Families participating in the boarding process
Trained JetBlue crewmembers and Behavior Specialists from BCPS providing assistance throughout the process
Stationary JetBlue aircraft, as families practice the boarding process

Broward County Public Schools
Tracy Clark, 754-321-2616, tracy.clark@browardschools.com
Nadine Drew, 754-321-2300, nadine.drew@browardschools.com

JetBlue Airways
Tamara Young, 718-709-3537, 347-229-8601 Tamara.Young@JetBlue.com 

Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport (FLL)
Gregory Meyer, 954-359-6116, 954-336-2847 GMeyer@broward.org

Media Must RSVP to Tamara Young at JetBlue to obtain a gate pass. See contact info above.


Broward County Public Schools (BCPS) is the sixth largest public school system in the United States and the second largest in the state of Florida. BCPS is Florida’s first fully accredited school system since 1962. BCPS has over 265,000 students and approximately 175,000 adult students in 238 schools, centers and technical colleges, and 103 charter schools. BCPS serves a diverse student population. Students are from 208 different countries and speak 181 different languages. For more information about BCPS and the Centennial Celebration, visit browardschools.com, follow BCPS on Twitter @browardschools, like BCPS on Facebook at facebook.com/browardschools, and download the free BCPS mobile app.