We are heading home, and recorded a quick podcast here in Schiphol Airport after going through security.
Security passage, as you will hear, was greatly aided by advance planning: last week I contacted Condor, our “host” airline, requesting assistance for Oliver. They responded with a “DPNA” PDF file that I could print out that identified Oliver as a flyer-with-autism, and instructed me to print it out and show it along the way.
With the aid of this very helpful blog post from a mother and son in our situation, we knew to go to the “Assistance Desk” upon arrival at the airport. So that’s what we did. They took a look at Oliver’s paperwork and asked us to wait in the nearby “elderly and disabled” waiting area.
About 10 minutes later we were greeted by Pascal (pro tip: always ask assistants for their name; it instantly establishes a rapport) and I explained our situation. Pascal, it turns out, is an intern, halfway through his term at Schiphol, on the way to working in the air. He proved a useful aid, as he was able to be a sort of “advance man” out in front of us, opening the way for the special services (calmness, physical search, no crazy questions) that we needed. He walked us through check-in, and then from check-in to security, took us to the special services line there, explained to the security agent that we needed a physical search, walked through security himself (also getting a physical search), and pointed us on our way. We shook his hand, explained what a great help he’d been, with hopes that he will now go on to a more autism-flyer-friendly career.
The physical search itself was conducted by the kind Patrick (see earlier pro tip), and was done calmly and without delay. Oliver remained calm and happy throughout, even through, deep in our hearts, we were both nervous and a little anxious.
Once we left Pascal, we headed into the departure gates, spotted a “reboost in 5 minutes” massage chair, and Oliver eagerly volunteered. Best €2 we’ve spent today.
And then we made a podcast.
On to Frankfurt!
Young man relaxes with “revitalising shiatsu massage” at the airport after successful, calm passage through security. Best €2 we’ve spent today.