It was an opportunity of a lifetime for some young Alaskans. Many of them stepping onto an airplane for the very first time Saturday afternoon to participate in the Arc of Anchorage's "Wings for Autism" rehearsal flight at Ted Stevens Airport.

Trying to plan a vacation that requires flying isn't an option for many families with autistic children, but thanks to the rehearsal flight young children and teens can actually experience what it's like check in for their boarding pass, go through the security check and finally to their boarding gate.

Parent Dena Jaroszewski and her son Thomas plan to fly to Virginia next year. She says this flight rehearsal couldn't have come at a better time.

"We get to test this out, plus we just moved here recently," she said. "So I've never even seen this airport, so it's kind of a good experience for the whole family."

Arc of Anchorage CEO Barbara Rodriguez Rath says it goes beyond just helping families.

"It also helps the airline staff, security staff, staff of the airport practice as well, so that it makes the traveling smoother for those families."

About 35 families participated in the rehearsal flight which doesn't leave the ground. Everyone onboard got to experience a partial take off, before being served soft drinks and returning back to the gate.

Saturday's event was the fourth time for the Anchorage area; Wings for Autism is normally held in the city every year. It's also free and open to any families with disabled children.