This section of our website offers advice and guidance on travelling with children who are on the Autistic spectrum.

Belfast City Airport realise how unsettling travelling through an airport and boarding an aeroplane can be for a child on the Autistic spectrum, especially when it’s a break in their routine and they are unsure of what to expect. It can be a stressful journey for both parent and child.

However, this section will take you on the journey through Belfast City Airport, using videos to explain the stages you will go through. There are 5 videos, each lasting about 5 minutes, describing what you will see and hear on your journey. This allows you and your child to watch different aspects of the airport process.In filming these sequences, we took a ‘child’s eye’ view. 


Autism in the Air Part 1



  • Today I am going on a plane.
  • It is ok to be scared but Mummy and Daddy will be with me.
  • The plane will be taking me to (destination).
  • Before we get to the airport we have to put our suitcases in to the car.


Autism in the Air Part 2



  • These suitcases have clothes and some toys in them that I will use when I get to (destination).
  • I can take my favourite backpack with me on to the plane. Mummy said I can put (child’s favourite items) in and play with them while I am on the plane.
  • The airport is very big with a lot of noises.


Autism in the Air Part 3



  • I hold Mummy’s hand so it is ok.
  • We go to a desk where Mummy and Daddy give the lady our suitcases so that they go on the plane.
  • I will see my suitcase again when I get to (destination).
  • I then walk to a big X-ray machine where I have to stand with quiet hands and feet.
  • Mummy gives my backpack to the man for him to look at it – I will get it back after I walk through the x-ray machine.
  • The man/woman will ask me to:

  1. • Take off my shoes
  2. • Take off my belt
  3. • Take off my hat

  • Mummy will be waiting on me and will give me a big hug when I get to her.
  • I then have to wait before I can get on the plane.


Autism in the Air Part 4



  • I can look out the window and see the plane I will be getting on or I can play with the toys in my backpack.
  • The lady will call us to the plane and I will hold Mummy’s hand walking down a big tunnel to get on to the plane.
  • On the plane I have to sit in my own seat.

Autism in the Air Part 5



  • Mummy or Daddy will be beside me.
  • They will help me put my seatbelt on. I have to wear this seatbelt when I am on the plane.
  • The pilot will speak to everyone on the plane and the lady/man will read out the rules for the plane.
  • There is a loud noise and the plane goes in to the sky.
  • I can play with my toys and have a snack until the plane lands in (destination).
  • We get off the plane and wait for our suitcases before we leave the airport.


          Peat NI                       



The Autism in the Air project was conducted by the Centre for Behaviour Analysis, Queens University Belfast (qub.ac.uk/cba) in collaboration with the PEAT Charity (peatni.org), the George Best Belfast City Airport (BCA), and Aer Lingus. The actors in these videos were staff and students from these agencies who volunteered their time free of charge, to help you and your child.

For more information about this project contact Prof. Karola Dillenburger at [email protected] or Nichola Booth at [email protected].