We all know that communication can be hard. It can be harder for those who have disabilities. British Airways has today become the first UK airline to trial a new video service transforming the experience for customers that use British Sign Language (BSL).
The initiative is being trialled as part of the airline’s continued efforts to make travel simple and easy for customers with additional assistance needs.
The airline’s new partnership with SignLive will see the company’s BSL service embedded in British Airways’ customer engagement centres. The platform allows customers to access a range of services before, during and after their journeys in a modern, simple and easy way.
British Airways customers will now be able to contact the airline through SignLive’s Community Directory where the team can assist with:
- Providing information and support about their journey and what to expect of the experience
- General customer service queries
- Booking flights
- Pre-booking seating
- Providing permission for service dogs to travel in the cabin
British Airways Head of Sustainability, Carrie Harris, said:
“It’s important for us to mark International Day of People with Disabilities, because before the pandemic, almost half a million customers who required additional assistance flew with British Airways each year and we’re focused on supporting customers with both hidden and visible disabilities to make their journey easier and stress-free.
In 2019 we invested in a new specialist accessibility team and as part of our broader focus on sustainability, diversity and inclusion, we are proud to be working with SignLive to make it as easy as possible for our customers using British Sign Language to receive the support they need. We hope to roll this technology out permanently as part of our unique British Airways’ service.”
Joel Kellhofer, CEO at SignLive said:
“By introducing our service, British Airways will be making air travel much more accessible to the UK’s Deaf population. We welcome any strides to improve inclusion and accessibility, and this is a huge step forward by such a well-known brand. We are happy that British Airways have chosen SignLive to support their customers.”
Accessing the service
Access SignLive online at www.signlive.co.uk or via their app through the Apple App Store or Google Play.
The British Airways Accessibility Team can be contacted via UK freephone number 0800 408 1100 from Monday to Saturday, 09:00 to 17:00.
Accessibility has been something British Airways has tried to work on, as they assist customers with hidden and visible disabilities. This includes a training programme and a dedicated team of accessibility experts to assist with customer enquiries.
British Airways’ new Hidden Disabilities Visual Guide has been produced in partnership with Learning Rose, a specialist consultancy experienced in designing support material for people with autism. You can find the guide here: www.ba.com/visual-guide.
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