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Traveling with autistic child

New Arrival

I would just like to say thank you to South West Airlines for providing my family with the best flying experience we have ever experienced! My husband is active duty military so we fly a lot to visit family and it is usually an experience that causes a lot of stress and anxiety for my 12 year old son with autism. I recently flew from Oakland to San Antonio and my son was having a hard time with the crowded gate area. I was traveling alone with my kids as my husband was not able to get the time off. I approached the gate desk and was pleasantly surprised to find a kind hearted helpful man that after hearing my dilemma immediately offered us preboarding. He let us wait in a less crowded area and gave my boys a nice certificate as a keepsake. He told me he had been a special education teacher for 30 years before switching to Southwest. His kindness changed my travel day from stressful to fantastic. Preboarding allowed us to sit in the front and my son felt so much more at ease without being crowded at the back of the plane. He loved being close to the pilot and first off the plane. The flight attendant offered my boys additional snacks and drinks. My younger son thought we were flying first class! Both my children walked off the plane with smiles on their faces. Thank you for hiring such excellent staff that truely cares about helping a family with a special needs child. Small acts of kindness make a huge impact!


Re: Traveling with autistic child

Active Member

Thank you for sharing your story. It's always great to hear about Southwest People demonstrating their Servant's Hearts to Customers. In today's world, genuine kindness is truly refreshing.

Are you familiar with the Wings for Autism program? It's a program that holds "rehearsals" at airports to help alleviate stress for airline passengers with autism spectrum disorders. Since your 12-year-old did so well, he probably does not need it, but I felt that it might still be a good resource for you in future travels. You can read all about the program by clicking here:


Best of luck to you! And please thank your husband for his service to our country.