Emirates holds familiarization flight for families with neurodivergent children


Emirates has conducted a special flight experience for 30 UAE families with neurodivergent children. 

The flight, which took place on April 24, 2024, was to help the children practice and alleviate anxieties before traveling and to raise awareness of autism.

The airline hosted Her Excellency Hessa BuHumaid, Director General of the Community Development Authority of Dubai, as well as 30 neurodiverse children aged between 8 and 12 years old – from Dubai Autism Centre, Safe Centre for Autism, Rashid Centre for People of Determination and the New England Centre Children Clinic – to attend the flight, including their caregivers. 

The group used Dubai International Airport’s (DXB) ‘Autism Friendly Route’ at Terminal 3, which includes access to priority lanes for check-in, passport control, security and boarding. 

Specially-trained Emirates check in staff and cabin crew were on hand to offer support throughout the journey. 

Flight EK2605 departed DXB at 11:20 local time, and landed again at 12:20, giving the children some real-life experience of a flight, including inflight service, announcements from the cabin crew and Captain, and the sounds and sights of a real take-off and landing.

According to Emirates, a study conducted by  the International Board of Credentialing and Continuing Education Standards (IBCCES) shows that only 13% of families with neurodiverse children surveyed take family vacations, citing the experience of the airport and flight as too stressful and triggering for the children’s sensory sensitivities. However, 93% of families surveyed said they would take more trips if there were more autism-certified options available and relevant support in place.

The airline said that more than 29,000 of its cabin crew and ground staff globally have completed ‘Introduction to Autism and Hidden Disabilities’ training. The online course was first launched in 2022 and covers a range of topics, from the UAE National Policy for People of Determination, recognising autism, practical tips on how to assist passengers with hidden disabilities, responding with empathy, and information on the official support systems for helping passengers within the airport.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Related Posts


Stay updated on aviation and aerospace - subscribe to our newsletter!