Think about the first time you stepped foot in an airport, got on an airplane and made your first trip. If you’re like many first-time travelers, from the check-in process, to security screening process and navigating multiple bustling airports, air travel can be daunting for anyone, but not everyone experiences these challenges in the same way – especially when it comes to people with disabilities.
This November and for the seventh consecutive year, thanks to the partnership between the Ann Sullivan Center (CASP) and Delta, travelers with disabilities and their families are getting to “take flight” without even leaving the ground.
Over the course of nine “simulated flights,” perhaps the most realistic of their kind, Delta and CASP leave no detail of the travel experience unconsidered, from beginning to end. On their travels, passengers originate out of a mock airport, check in with their passports, receive Delta boarding passes, check their luggage, go through airport security and board a mock aircraft cabin where they fly to a select destination with a real Delta flight crew who volunteer to work the flights. This year, travelers made the journey from Lima to San Francisco.
“We are truly honored to work together with the Ann Sullivan Center in this partnership,” said Santiago Elijovich – General Manager Hispanic South America. “In order to truly provide the world-class service our customers expect, we must listen to the communities we serve and act on their feedback to lead the way in making travel more inclusive for everyone – and people with different abilities are no exception.”
With independence being a key element in these simulations, students take the lead – becoming used to the sights, sounds and complexities of airport and onboard experiences and making each “trip” a learning opportunity for travelers and Delta people alike. Listening and learning from participants on every flight, feedback from participants is implemented to enhance the experience each year that follows.
“Delta’s commitment to our students for the seventh straight year is truly inspiring as a model for how we can teach independence and make travel better for people with different abilities,” says Dr. Liliana Mayo, Executive Director and Founder of the Ann Center Sullivan of Peru-CASP. “Because of Delta’s commitment to this partnership, we are making real differences in people’s lives.”
Because of the work of the Ann Sullivan Center, more than 100 of their students have been hired by some of the largest companies in Peru, not despite, but because of their abilities. To learn more about the center’s work to serve people with disabilities, visit https://www.en.annsullivanperu.org/.