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Delta opens a dedicated space for passengers with sensory, physical, or cognitive impairments

The new Travel Confidently MSP Education Center officially opened its doors on May 23, thanks to the donations, contributions, and hard work of Delta Air Lines, the Metropolitan Airports Commission (MAC), and the Airport Foundation MSP. This unique facility, located near gate C16 in Terminal 1 of the MSP, will enhance the MSP Navigating program by providing passengers with sensory, physical, or cognitive impairments, or those with a fear of flying and with service animals, a place to experience and familiarize themselves with an airplane cabin in a dedicated environment. The space will also allow airport public safety professionals and airline support staff to train in a realistic setting. “We are grateful for our ongoing partnership with MAC and the Airport Foundation MSP, which have bolstered Delta’s efforts to create a more inclusive and accessible world for all”, said Mary Loeffelholz, Delta’s Vice President of Operations at MSP. “Giving back to our community is deeply rooted in Delta’s beliefs and values, and through the work of our people, we are very excited to see how this facility will affect the MSP community.” The new space includes an aircraft cabin, donated by Delta, with 42 seats that simulates a flight at 33,000 feet, thanks to the help of Delta co-pilot Richard Kargel. Upon learning that the company-donated cabin, previously used to train flight attendants and pilots in emergency evacuation procedures, would be replaced, Kargel identified that there was an opportunity to repurpose the equipment and its many components for a cause near and dear to his heart. “My son Shane has autism, so I knew how much a facility like this could improve the travel experience for him and so many others living with sensory, cognitive, or physical disabilities”, Kargel said. “With the full support of Delta’s leadership, along with MAC’s vision to enhance the customer experience, this idea has become a reality in a way I never imagined. This facility gives us the opportunity to show people who never thought they could travel, that it is possible. It gives families hope.” In addition to the cabin, the Arts@MSP program, a joint initiative of MAC and the Airport Foundation MSP, facilitated the creation of a community art project to enhance the visual experience of the new space. With that, the area became a blank canvas for young local artists – Ethan Nevalainen, Athena Ali, Greta Kotz, and Taylan De Johnette – from Juxtaposition Arts to create a stunning work of art called “Equanimity”. Travel Confidently MSP Education will be used to support MSP and community programs, including Navigating MSP. This program, offered by MAC in partnership with the Airport Foundation MSP, Autism Society of MN, and Fraser, provides airport and aircraft training for children and adults who feel discomfort when flying. This feature will be used when a real aircraft is not available; Service Animals: Service animal trainers or owners in the Minneapolis-St. Paul may reserve the use of this facility when they need to practice boarding and travel procedures with their service animals; Public safety: MSP firefighters and police officers will be able to train to respond to emergencies for passengers or crew on aircraft; Airport Services: Wheelchair service providers may train to assist passengers using wheelchairs in boarding or disembarking aircraft, and cabin crew may train to assist customers with the use of onboard wheelchairs designed to passengers to move to and from the lavatory. “We’re always looking for ways to build equity in travel”, said MAC President Rick King. “It’s easy to think of air travel as a smooth ride, but for many it presents unique challenges and requires different resources. The Travel Confidently MSP Education Center is yet another way to provide resources to the community and lower the barriers of flying for as many people as possible.” – https://passageirodeprimeira.com/delta-abre-espaco-dedicado-para-passageiros-com-deficiencias-sensoriais-fisicas-ou-cognitivas/