Pittsburgh International Airport (IATA: PIT) has unveiled a new sensory-friendly space that offers special needs travellers from children to adults an opportunity to de-stress and get acclimatized to ‘flying’ inside a real aircraft cabin.
Named Presley’s Place for the son of airport heavy equipment operator, Jason Rudge, who came up with the idea, the 1,500sq ft (139m²) facility is among the first airport sensory friendly spaces in the US and is the first with a real aircraft, airbridge and multiple rooms.
Allegheny County executive, Rich Fitzgerald, commented: “Flying or visiting an airport can be stressful for anyone, but that is particularly true when it comes to individuals with autism or other special needs.
“Kudos to airport employees and the authority for recognizing the need, and to so many partners for stepping up to make this vision a reality. With the opening of this amenity, all travellers will have the opportunity to explore in a safe space.”
Nestled in Concourse A, every aspect of the new sensory-friendly suite was designed with special needs passengers in mind. It includes a calming transition foyer, a family room, individual rooms with bubble tubes, and an adult area (all fully soundproof). The space also includes an aircraft experience and a bathroom available to the public which includes an adult changing table and adjustable sink.