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PIT Opens Sensory Friendly Space with Real Plane

Pittsburgh International Airport (PIT) this week unveils a first-of-its kind sensory-friendly space for special needs travelers that helps them decompress while traveling and get acclimated to flight inside a real plane cabin.

The 1,500-square-foot space in Concourse A ⁠— named Presley’s Place for the son of the airport heavy equipment operator who came up with the idea ⁠— includes a portion of a plane donated by American Airlines to help both special-needs adults and children acclimate to flying.

The suite includes a calming transition foyer, a family room, individual rooms with bubble tubes, and an adult area. The fully-soundproof space also includes an airplane experience and a bathroom available to the public with an adult changing table and adjustable sink.

“This room is an opportunity for special needs travelers from children to adults to have a place to decompress and get prepared to fly,” says PIT CEO Christina Cassotis. “This has been a multiyear process with engagement from more than 40 organizations and lots of parents. I’d also like to give a special thanks to our airport staff who built the room in-house as well as those who managed the project every step of the way.”

While contained as part of the sensory room, the airplane experience also has a separate door that will allow the airport to use the area for first-time flyers classes to get novice travelers familiar with a plane.

Presley’s Place was funded by donations from local and national foundations, specialized sensory equipment/furniture providers, American Airlines and local government officials.

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