why jet blue rocks, by me

~

All,

I wrote the following post yesterday before the HuffPo piece came out. I still want to post it today, because, well, it’s kind of awesome (not the writing, the story), but I just have to take a moment first to tell you something. Come close, would ya? This is big.

I have been completely overwhelmed by the outpouring of love and support that I have received since the post came out. Many of you thanked me. I thank you back. Many of you called me courageous. I remind you that you are too. Truthfully, I wouldn’t have thought that word would have felt appropriate to me — until I got the notification that the post was finally published and I realized that I was shaking.

It turned out that I need not have worried. But for the inevitable asshat spouting bigotry based on his selective reading of the Bible on Twitter, the reaction has been overwhelmingly positive. Oh, and now, thanks to my girl Jersey, I know how to block people on Twitter, so hey, even that had a happy ending.  

As I wrote last night, I pray for the day that there is nothing ‘courageous’ about speaking the truth. In the meantime, I thank you, from the bottom of my heart, for accepting me as I am and for joining me in celebrating not just our differences, but our commonalities – the latter being far more abundant than the former.

I am overwhelmed by your support. I am humbled by your generosity. But above all, I am grateful. 

Love,

Jess

And now, back to our regularly scheduled programming …

~

My girl knows her people. She sniffs em out in crowds and hones in on em. Like Miss Tracy. Or Miss Marjory. Or Cousin Adam. Brooke finds her people. And when she does, it quickly becomes obvious that they all have something in common. Respect.

They accommodate her, but they don’t pity her. They do what they can to make her comfortable, but they don’t baby her. They RESPECT her. And she knows it.

As most of you know by now, Brooke is Jet Blue’s biggest fan. They welcome her. They tweet her a happy birthday message each year because they know that the Jet Blue song is her birthday tune of choice. And now, I’ve just found out that they do a whole lot more. Ready? You’re going to love this.

Thanks to a prompt from the most awesome reader ever, I called Jet Blue’s Special Service line ahead of our flight later today. I advised them that I was travelling with an autistic child. And this is what happened …

They made a notation on our reservation to alert their crew and staff that we may be in need of extra assistance.

They refunded the $120 that we had paid to upgrade our seats to the front two rows of the plane. They offer their preferential seating (front of the plane / roomier seats) free of charge to disabled passengers.

They asked if we would like assistance through security. (I said, “No, thank you,” as we are flying early in the morning and I think we’ll be okay.) They said if we ran into trouble, call.

They told me that as soon as we arrive at the gate, we should let the gate agents know that we would like to participate in Silent Boarding. This means that a gate agent will come to get us BEFORE pre-boarding begins, BEFORE a single announcement is made, and BEFORE the crowd begins to gather at the gate.

THIS IS HUGE.

I don’t know about you, but for us, this is, hands down, the most challenging part of flying. The hurry up to wait and the unwieldy mass of people squirming and murmuring and moving unpredictably is hard for Brooke to navigate. Really hard. All hands on deck hard.

Now it’s not an issue. We will be on the plane long before it starts.

They offered to take us off the plane ahead of the other passengers when we land. (Since we’re in the second row, I declined as I feel no need to shove in front of the six people ahead of us, but had we been in the tush of the plane, this would have been immensely helpful.)

They told me not to hesitate to call if I think of anything else we might need before the flight.

They told me that the crew and staff were there to help should we run into any unforeseen issues.

They told me that they were thrilled to have us on board.

Yes, my daughter knows her people.

As does her Mama.

Thank you, Michelle and Jet Blue. I feel like we’ve hit the lottery.

Jet Blue Special Assistance line = 855-232-5463

More information

Screen shot 2013-01-09 at 5.01.44 AM

See? They’re THAT awesome.

~

Just a reminder: I never, ever (no seriously, ever) get any compensation from the blog or anything related to it. When I share something like this, it’s only because I think you’d like to know too. I have no connection to Jet Blue other than a kid who thinks they rock. And now I do too. Carry on. 

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25 thoughts on “why jet blue rocks, by me

  1. That is awesome! That is so beyond awesome! Have a wonderful and safe trip. I can’t wait to hear all about it. Hugs and kisses to both you and Brooke.

    Love you,
    Mom

  2. We flew Jet Blue when we went to Florida. It was my son’s first flight. And with everything else I was trying to plan, I didn’t even think about reaching out to Jet Blue to see if they made accommodations for autism. Luckily – my son surprised and was amazing, didn’t mind the waiting, the lines, the crowds (but we live in NYC & travel a lot by subway, so possibly this prepared him). But this is good to know for future reference. Thank you.

  3. Oh, wow. Emma is flying for the first time in March, and I’m a bundle of nerves. Will be checking to see if Jet Blue flies that route.

    I hope the rest of your trip is just as wonderful as your experience with Jet Blue!

  4. We had an unfortunate incident with Jet Blue 3 years ago, which involved a flight attendant making a cruel remark about our son’s behavior within earshot. It is good to know that they are working to grow as a company and make flying a pleasure for ALL of their passengers. Have a fantastic trip?

  5. Thank you, thank you, thank you for this information… it’s wonderful. I’m in tears with relief thinking about how much this will help us when we fly with our three kiddies (10, 7 and 4), all on the spectrum with Asperger’s and PDD-NOS, plus SPD and Anxiety. Just, wow.

  6. Thank you, thank you, thank you for this information! I’m in tears with relief… oh, how this will help us when we fly with our three kiddies (10, 7 and 4), all on the spectrum with Aspergers and PDD-NOS, SPD and Anxiety. Just, wow.

  7. Jet Blue is wonderful, but for other travelers all airlines will offer some accomodations for us and our kids. Not as much as Jet Blue…but any help is better than no help.

  8. You are a talented writer with a wonderful story to tell. I look forward to reading more of Brooke’s adventures in this life, as well as your sharing how to effectively advocate for your daughter. Many will be enlightened by read your posts– both parents of special children, and the rest of the individuals these children will interact with.

  9. first and foremost —you are a great writer my Dear (Diary of a Mom) second just a small word of thanks for sharing! I too love Jet Blue! Have since ever since their Small little biz started flying out of Long Beach, CA But sadly they don’t fly to GA where my Grams and favorite Auntie live. and haven’t found much need to fly elsewhere in about 4 years. in my next life I want to come back as a Jet Blue Flight Attendant. Your story brought tears from the start. love me a good cry over a great story! thanks cheers to you and your Brooke!

  10. Why should this post make me tear up?? It is often the risk I take with reading your blog, but I guarantee I’ve never done it while reading a post primarily about an airline. “Silent Boarding?” They get it, don’t they? They really, really get it. Good work, Jet Blue.

  11. Pingback: Taking Flight – Autism Awareness Day 2013 | Run Luau Run

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