Mock Airplane Cabin Takes the Stress Out of Air Travel

Blog: Mock Airplane Cabin

Recently, we reported on the “Microsoft Flight Simulator,” a series of flight simulator programs for Microsoft Windows operating systems that give wheelchair users the exciting sensation of flying an airplane.

But that’s not the only aeronautic innovation that benefits disabled individuals to make headlines this spring/summer travel season.

A mock aircraft cabin in the Minneapolis-St. Paul (MSP) International Airport’s main terminal is helping passengers with disabilities and anyone else who may find air travel stressful, to practice boarding procedures before they fly.

Part of The Travel Confidently MSP Education Center, the cabin was formerly used to train Delta employees in Atlanta, Georgia. The 33-foot cabin, equipped with 42 seats, is useful for people with sensory, cognitive and physical disabilities and people traveling with service dogs. The cabin will also be used to train public safety and airline crews.

Individuals who enter the cabin will find opportunities to practice getting luggage into overhead bins and buckling their safety belts. They will also learn protocols for flying with a wheelchair and be able to orient their service dogs to an airplane before taking them on a flight.

“This unique facility will be a hallmark for MSP’s programs that support equitable and inclusive travel,” Brian Ryks, executive director and CEO of the Metropolitan Airports Commission (MAC), said in a press release.

“Thanks to a generous donation from Delta Air Lines, we can provide a life-like training environment without the use of an actual aircraft, which will build confidence in air travel for more people in our community.”

Other funding for the mock airplane was provided by the Metropolitan Airports Commission (MAC) and Airport Foundation MSP.

“We are always looking for ways to build travel equity,” said Rick King, MAC chair. “It’s easy to take air travel for granted, but for many it presents unique challenges and requires different resources. The Travel Confidently MSP Education Center is one more way we can provide resources to the community and lower the barriers to flying for as many people as possible.”

Another feature that makes the mock aircraft unique is that it features artwork by four emerging artists from Minneapolis-based Juxtaposition Arts, a non-profit youth art and design education center, gallery, retail shop, and artists’ studio space.

So, if you weren’t planning a trip to Minneapolis-Saint Paul, this summer, you may want to reconsider your travel plans!

Here’s hoping that more airports will eventually offer “travel confidently education centers!”