3 mins read

Autism and Flight Changes

My son used to have issues with unexpected changes. The unexpected would sometimes led to meltdowns. He just couldn’t wrap his head around sudden change.

Now that my child is a teenager, he has improved in that area. However, there was a time when an unexpected change would throw him.

What happened?

My son and I were traveling back from the East Coast at the end of June. When we arrived at the airport, we were informed that not only had the airline changed the type of plane we were about to fly in, but they changed our seats.

In a big way.

When I bought the tickets, I had selected seats in the middle of the plane. And, my son had his usual window seat.

Now, our seats were in the last row, and in the middle aisle.

No window seat for my son.

What did I do?

Well, I complained to the airlines, but it did no good. All the airline representatives did was shrug and say, “The plane changed and we had to move your seats. I didn’t do it.”

I was upset, but I also had to deal with my son. I had to temper my reaction so he didn’t play off of it and react poorly (as he had done in the past).

I had to explain to him that this was a change that the airline made, it was out of our control, and we had to except it.

I had to play it cool.

Was that all that happened?

When we got to our seats, they were pretty poor. The middle seats in the middle section.

Fortunately, a kind man switched seats with my son so he could, at least, sit in an aisle seat.

With the seat situation finally settled (not really to our satisfaction), we were ready to go.

However, the weather did not cooperate. The pilot told the passengers that our flight was going to be an hour and a half late due to bad weather.

This time, my son did get upset.

Apparently, the combination of the seat change and the delayed flight was a bit too much for my son. He got upset.

Getting upset on a crowded plane is not a great situation.

I quickly and quietly talked to him.

He avoided a meltdown because besides being older and better at accepting change, he is also easier to talk to. I kept myself calm and convinced him that we can’t control the weather.

I instructed him to walk around the plane in order to calm himself (the other passengers were also up and about).

We talked some more and then we played a game on his iPad.

After about forty minutes, the pilot announced that the delay was shortened and they were now going to get ready to take off.

All in all, my teenaged son handled the unexpected better than expected. He’s getting older and getting better at handling unexpected situations, and keeping himself calm instead of melting down.

Autism and Flight Changes, and things that do get better over time.


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