British Airways is working towards improving accessibility in the air, with the airline partnering with SigncodeUK to improve its accessibility offering for Deaf and hard-of-hearing customers, with new signed video content containing a variety of helpful travel information being made available to customers both pre-travel and whilst on board.
The first video, which is available for viewing pre-travel on ba.com, offers a comprehensive overview of British Airways’ service proposition throughout the entire journey, including the booking process, the airport experience, onboard services and the in-flight entertainment offering.
It also includes a BSL (British Sign Language) introduction from Fredrick Da Costa, British Airways’ first Deaf Customer Experience Agent who uses BSL as part of his role. The video aims to empower customers by providing them with the information they need to make more informed choices when they travel.
A second video, available by the end of 2023, focuses on onboard safety features and procedures. This video will be accessible on ba.com and via a QR code that British Airways Mainline cabin crew will have on their mobile devices on board, giving customers the option to choose between receiving a signed video safety briefing on their personal device, or receiving a personalised briefing delivered by one of our crew face-to-face, which is already offered to Deaf or hard of hearing customers.
An example of it can be found on the BA Youtube channel:
British Airways is working with SigncodeUK – an organisation dedicated to ensuring equal access to information, products and services for the Deaf and hard-of-hearing community and specialises in translating key information into signed videos. They will provide videos in British Sign Language (BSL) and American Sign Language (ASL) and are exploring the potential to expand into other languages such as Spanish. The airline hopes to grow its BSL video content further in the coming year.
Carrie Harris, Director of Sustainability at British Airways, said:
“We are proud to partner with SigncodeUK to further improve our accessibility offering for our Deaf and hard of hearing customers. This collaboration aligns with our ongoing commitment to ensure that all our customers have a seamless experience and can travel with confidence, with dignity and in comfort.”
Gill Earl, Managing Director at SigncodeUK, said:
“Working with British Airways and making the Deaf community aware of the services available to them, has been a privilege and an honour. British Airways is an iconic British brand, who are committed to accessibility, not only for their customers but also their colleagues who strive to make it the best airline in the world.
We are proud to help them on their accessibility journey by bringing together our professional media translators with BA’s own Fredrick De Costa on their first BSL video.
We are delighted as a company but more for the Deaf and hard-of-hearing communities that we serve. They now have truly independent access to all that British Airways can offer.”
Beyond the SigncodeUK Partnership.
In addition to the SigncodeUK partnership, the airline supports customers who are Deaf or hard of hearing through a minicom system (a small electronic typewriter and screen linked to a phone system, enabling people to send and receive messages), and has an ongoing partnership with SignLive to use British Sign Language in its customer engagement centres.
Customers who use BSL can contact the airline using a Video Relay Service provided by SignLive, a free service that will connect customers to a qualified online BSL interpreter. The interpreter will relay the conversation between the customer and a member of British Airways’ accessibility team.
Opening up travel
We’re in a world where accessibility is so important on many levels – both with visible and invisible disabilities around us.
Aviation has its part to play – beyond videos, beyond subtitles and a duty to engage with these communities to step forward to enable them to travel.
Steps like the ones being taken by British Airways are so important to that, as it will give these passengers a choice in how they wish to access both preflight an safety-critical resources.
And sometimes, offering a choice is the beginning of seeing what other needs they need to be fulfilled.
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