This Airport Has a Mock Plane Cabin to Help Some Passengers Prepare for Travel

This program will help create an equitable experience for all travelers

Exterior shot of mock airplane cabin and door at MSP airport

Courtesy of the Metropolitan Airports Commission

For some travelers, flying is a piece of cake, and for others, it can be much more challenging. So, to help ease pre-flight anxiety, the Metropolitan Airports Commission (MAC) created a way to give travelers the experience of boarding a plane without ever having to take them off the ground.

On May 23, a mock aircraft cabin, officially named the Travel Confidently MSP Education Center, was unveiled at Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport. This cabin will serve multiple purposes, most notably allowing those with sensory, physical, or cognitive disabilities or those who fear flying an opportunity to practice boarding before their flights. It'll also be a training space for service dogs who aren't familiar with the interior of a plane and for airport safety professionals and support crew.

The cabin used to be a Delta Air Lines training space for in-flight crews in Atlanta. It is 33 feet long and features 42 Boeing-737 seats recycled from a retired aircraft.

Seats inside MSP mock airplane cabin

Courtesy of the Metropolitan Airports Commission

“We are always looking for ways to build travel equity,” Rick King, the MAC chair, said in a statement. “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.” 

The Travel Confidently MSP Education Center will be enhancing the Navigating MSP program. Through a partnership with the Metropolitan Airports Commission, Fraser, and the Autism Society of Minnesota (AuSM), this program is dedicated to making flying equitable for all by providing scheduled practices of security screenings, boarding, takeoff procedures, and more.

“This unique facility will be a hallmark for MSP’s programs that support equitable and inclusive travel,” said Brian Ryks, executive director and CEO of the MAC. “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.” 

Exterior shot of mock airplane cabin in msp

Courtesy of the Metropolitan Airports Commission

The exterior artwork of the mock cabin (and around the area) is titled “Equanimity” and was a community project put together by the Arts@MSP program that called on local youth artists from Juxtaposition Arts, a teen-run art and design center, shop, gallery, and studio space. As its name suggests, the art is meant to make the area comfortable, tranquil, and welcoming for all who use it.

Interested in utilizing this new mock cabin? You can register here.

Article Sources
TripSavvy uses only high-quality, trusted sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial policy to learn more about how we keep our content accurate, reliable and trustworthy.
  1. Minneapolis Saint Paul Metropolitan Airports Commission. "MSP Airport Opens the Travel Confidently MSP Education Center." May 23, 2022.