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Tallahassee airport gets high numbers with new amenities for those with autism

New surge in travel numbers due to new amenities
Posted at 5:40 PM, Apr 15, 2022
and last updated 2022-04-15 18:14:20-04

TALLAHASSEE, FL. (WTXL) — Tallahassee International Airport is making the travel experience better for all passengers with new amenities. Things such as a new pet area, a nursing station for mothers, and new autism aids such as special walk-throughs, TSA cares program and an activity book guide.

Their numbers dropped significantly back in 2019 due to COVID-19. For the first three months of the year, the airport has seen nearly 185,000 travelers. That's up nearly 94% compared to this time last year.

In addition to more people traveling nationwide, the Director of Aviation David Pollard credits the increase to improvements made to customer service.

“We’re continuously looking at all the travelers here, not just the business traveler or leisure traveler, we’re looking at all those including those who may have special needs," Pollard said.

The Director of Autism and Related Disabilities Cathy Zenko said, “they had an experience with an individual on the autism spectrum that didn’t go as well as they would have liked.”

Zenko added how they were brought on to train the facility. After the initial training, they have now partnered with the airport and are continuously helping to make improvements.

“We worked with a wonderful team at the airport and the city and their graphic designers," Zenko said. "We put together an activity book. It’s called My First Sky Guide.”

The activity book is aimed to better prepare autistic individuals on what to expect when visiting an airport. Starting from packing your bags all the way to boarding your flight.

Pollard said, "we’re very proud of the fact that we’ve been certified as an autism-friendly business with the FSU CAR Center.”