Sensory room opened at Bristol Airport to help passengers with autism

January 14, 2022

Bristol Airport has become only the second in the UK to open a purpose-built sensory room for passengers with autism, dementia or cognitive impairment.

The room, pictured, provides a safe, private and interactive space where users with ASD (autism spectrum disorder) can feel relaxed when in unfamiliar surroundings. 

Made by specialist US firm Fun & Function, which has provided sensory rooms for classrooms, homes and businesses, the facility is designed to be a soothing and peaceful place away from the activity of a busy airport.

It includes facilities such as a colour column, infinity tunnel, padded seats, colour changing LEDs and a wheel projector.

Bristol Airport already has an Autism Friendly Award for its approach, which includes making special hidden disability lanyards available to passengers, assistance cards, booklets and videos on aspects of the airport.

People with autism can find airports problematic, with queuing, security, announcements and crowds combining to make it a pretty overwhelming experience for anyone with ASD, particularly children. 

The free-to-use, wheelchair accessible room is in the airport’s special assistance area in the departure lounge and is managed by facilities management firm OCS.

Bristol Airport head of customer operations Richard Thomasson said: “The new sensory room will make a huge difference to the lives of those travelling with autism, dementia or cognitive impairment for themselves, their carers and accompanying family.

“An airport can be a busy and stressful environment, therefore having a safe and interactive place for children and adults, will help to reduce anxiety before boarding their flights and is an invaluable asset in reducing stress.

“We are committed in providing the best possible experience for all our customers and we hope the new sensory room will provide a comforting place for passengers who might feel overwhelmed in unfamiliar surroundings.”

Fun and Function CEO and founder Aviva Weiss said: “This sensory room opens the skies to travellers, providing a calming oasis within the airport. The experience is immersive, easing stress for families with autism or other challenges.” 

It is open daily between 4am and 9pm. Passengers can book a 45-minute session through the booking system on Bristol Airport’s website.

Prior to the pandemic he airport, the airport was handling more than 9m passengers a year, making it the UK’s ninth busiest and England’s third largest regional airport.

Gatwick became the first UK airport to open sensory room in 2018. Shannon Airport in Dublin had opened one the previous year while a number of airports in the US also have them.

For more information and to book, visit

Comments are closed.


Reach tens of thousands of senior business people across Swindon & Wiltshire for just £70 a month. Email for more information.