Autism - A journey across the airport
Bologna Airport participates in the project 'Autism - A journey across the airport', created by ENAC in collaboration with ASSAEROPORTI and DPOs to make the travel experience of autistic people and their escorts an easy one.
The project is outlined on a brochure dedicated to the escorting people with suggestions to introduce the autistic people to the travel experience and a 'social overview' dedicated to autistic people, giving an advance view of the journey throughout the airport with a leaflet and slides, hence reducing the emotional impact that such new situation implies, and face the travel with ease.
The project was developed with the cooperation of the Bologna Health Service, Angsta and the Autism Foundation.
Visiting the Airport before the flight
Bologna Airport also offers the opportunity to book a visit to the Terminal in preparation for the trip, with a 2-week notice before the departure date.
A journey across the airport
1. Arrival at the airport
You can reach Bologna airport:
- by car, using one of the car parks inside or outside the airport,
- by taxi, which will leave you in front of the Terminal,
- with the Aerobusthe shuttle that arrives directly from the Central Train Station,
- with a bus coming from outside Bologna and which will drop you off in the service area, near the Terminal.
WHAT I SEE: I find a great bustle of people who get off the cars, cross the road, talk, carry suitcases, enter and exit sliding doors.
WHAT I HEAR: A lot of noises of cars and engines, voices of people.
HOW I FEEL: I'm happy and excited: I'm about to leave!
2. The request for assistance
You can ask for the assistance of an airport attendant from a Help Phone close to the airport entrances, at the check-in area or at the Special assistance reception. The airport attendant will accompany you throughout your stay at the airport until you board your aircraft, helping you to carry out check-in procedures and pass security checks until you board your aircraft.
WHAT I SEE: Inside the terminal I find a lot of people, some walking with suitcases and others standing in line in front of a desk. I also see a lot of bright monitors with flight schedules and colorful images flowing through them.
WHAT I HEAR: Confusion, noises of suitcases, voices of people.
HOW I FEEL: I wait for an airport attendant with patience and in the meantime I look around.
3. At Check-in
The airport attendant will take you to the check-in counter to check in your hold baggage or to have you printed the boarding pass that is necessary to board the plane. You may need to wait for your turn. The check-in attendant sitting at the counter can take your suitcase and slide it over the ribbon to board it in the aircraft hold.
WHAT I SEE: The check-in staff have their uniforms and are sitting behind the counter; they weigh the suitcase and let it slide on the belt that will take it into the aircraft hold. The monitors have fixed or sliding images. I might find some people in front of me waiting.
WHAT I HEAR: Confusion, noises of suitcases, voices of people.
HOW I FEEL: I patiently wait for my turn, I am excited and curious. I won't have to wait long!
4. At Security Checks
If you do not have any baggage to put in the hold, you can proceed directly to the security checks to enter the boarding area, beyond the sliding glass doors. The security check is very important: the staff will check that no dangerous or forbidden objects are taken on board the aircraft. You may have to wait in line for your turn.
Place your backpack or luggage on the black sliding tape: when the glass door has opened, remove your jacket, watch or belt (if you are wearing them) and place them inside the tray. The tray will pass inside the radiogenic machine that controls its contents: you can recover all your objects at the end of the controls.
If the archway alarm sounds and flashes, don't worry: you need to repeat the check for safety reasons. It may be necessary to undergo a manual check by the Security Officer, who may also use a scanner tool: even in this case stay calm while the Security Officer performs their task.
WHAT I SEE: People in line waiting for security checks, who deposit their objects in the trays and recover them after the radiogenic machine. Airport uniformed staff who slide people forward, perform manual checks on passengers or look at a screen. On some archways the green light may flash.
WHAT I HEAR: So many voices and so many noises from people and cars. I can also hear the sudden sound of the archway alarm, which has detected a metallic object.
HOW I FEEL: I calmly wait in line to pass under the archway. I don't get upset, but I follow the instructions of the uniformed staff.
5. Waiting inside the Boarding Hall
The monitors show the departure time of the flight and the gate number. From the windows you can see the operations on the runway. While waiting for boarding you can sit in the Sala Amica, a private room furnished with armchairs, tables and television, where not all passengers are allowed.
WHAT I SEE: Lots of people sitting or standing, monitors with flight schedules, shops and bars. In the Sala Amica I find comfortable sofas and tables: here there are no other passengers.
WHAT I HEAR: Inside the Sala Amica you don't hear so much noise: you wait for the call of your flight.
HOW I FEEL: I'm quiet: I can sit on chairs near the gate or go around the shops and maybe get something to drink or eat.
6. At the boarding gate
When boarding, stand in line near your flight counter and give your boarding pass to the airport staff member who will hold a piece of it. With the assistance of the airport staff member, you will descend to the runway and from there you will board a bus or you will be accompanied on foot under the plane, if it is nearby. It is important to keep calm, even if you can hear loud noises and see the take-offs and landings of the planes.
WHAT I SEE: Lots of people standing in line. Once I get off, I see some planes parked at the edge of the runway and the vehicles and cars that provide assistance. Other planes arrive or take off. I see the shuttle that will take me under the plane.
WHAT I HEAR: A lot of noise is produced by the engines of the planes and also by the airport vehicles that pass nearby.
HOW I FEEL: I calmly wait in line for the airport worker to check my boarding pass and then I go down the stairs to get to the runway.
7. On the plane
Get on board the aircraft and sit in the chair that will be indicated to you by the crew. Buckle up and turn off your mobile phone, computers and video games.
WHAT I SEE: The plane slowly fills up: the other passengers get on board and put their bags inside the hat boxes. After that, they also sit in their seats. The onboard staff who explain the security procedures and go through the last check before takeoff.
WHAT I HEAR: Noise from the means working alongside and the noise of the aircraft engines warming up. Noise from other passengers getting on and putting their bags in their hatboxes. The commander's announcements from the microphone and safety instructions for boarding.
HOW I FEEL: I'm very excited, I'm going to fly! I fasten my seatbelt and follow the preparations for takeoff from the window. We're off!