Individuals with a disability or who require additional support are invited to sign up for a personalized tour of Winnipeg Richardson International Airport to review each step of the travelling process before they fly.
The new Passenger Rehearsal Program at YWG marks the first sustained, individualized service of its kind at any airport in Canada. Winnipeg Airports Authority is proud to launch this program to help all passengers feel comfortable and familiar with airport procedures before their next trip out of YWG.
"Winnipeg Airports Authority (WAA) recognised the need to offer more specialised tours, especially for those individuals who may require more time or have conditions that require special consideration," said Kirk Goodlet, Director, Airport Services and lead guide for the Passenger Rehearsal Program. "This can be the case for individuals with Autism Spectrum Disorder or Alzheimer's disease, who may be sensitive to the many stimuli typical to airports, such as high frequency noises at security checkpoints or densely-populated areas."
The guided airport tours are being introduced to build traveller confidence and create enjoyable, stress-free journeys for all at YWG.
"Inclusion Winnipeg commends Winnipeg Richardson International Airport for their leadership in creating an inclusive and accessible travel experience for everyone by taking their customer service to a new and exciting level," said Janet Forbes, Executive Director for Inclusion Winnipeg. "Starting from their arrival at the airport and through all the steps to being in their seat and onto their destination, this experience will help to relieve the anxiety of not knowing what to expect."
Rather than offering a single-day event, this program is available year-round for travellers. The personal tour can be arranged close to one's date of travel to mirror their upcoming itinerary. The airport guide, a select member of WAA's knowledgeable team, will be available to answer any questions and accommodate special requests to provide the best tour for each future passenger.
According to a 2018 report from the National Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) Surveillance System, an estimated one in 66 children between the ages of five and 17 have Autism Spectrum Disorder in Canada.
"We want to ensure the services we offer at the airport reflect the needs of our community and this program helps us accomplish that," said Goodlet.
Previously, members of the community have inquired about a service of this nature and now WAA is happy to be able to accommodate any requests the airport receives. Amid COVID-19, the passenger experience is changing to incorporate more health and safety measures each step of the way. It is a great time for anyone to re-familiarize themselves with The New YWG Travel Experience, or for individuals with a visible or invisible disability to sign up for a personal tour before their next journey.
With service excellence as a core company value, WAA looks forward to helping more travellers know what to expect the next time they move through YWG. The Passenger Rehearsal Program is an exciting opportunity to build more one-on-one connections with members of our community and further create an inclusive and accessible airport environment.
Please note, all tours require a confirmed booking. To sign up for the Passenger Rehearsal Program (open to parents and guardians), please email firstname.lastname@example.org or call our Information Booth at 204-987-9402.