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close up of Airbus A380 Plane safety cardwith

On a recent trip to the United Kingdom, I opted to fly British Airways (BA) in the World Traveler section of the plane, also known as economy.  The transatlantic flight was very enjoyable (I had a surprisingly comfortable seat), an excellent IFE showing the latest movies, great staff and a very modern aircraft. 

close up of screen on seat back

During this trip, I flew on the BA Airbus A380 which is a ‘double-decker’ style, two level aircraft which seats several hundred people, comfortably.  The focus of today’s blog post is to highlight BA’s investment of resources into accessible IFE.  This particular IFE was built by Thales for British Airways and it is packed with features to support individuals with disabilities – a welcome feature!  The system by Thales is pictured below.

Close up of blue and green logo of closed captions

As a professional in the accessibility field, I am always ‘reviewing’ technology and I immediately noticed the graphic user interface was very responsive even with a pretty light touch this ideal for individuals with hand strength challenges.  The first accessibility feature, I trialed was the instant captioning, commonly referred to as Closed Captioning.  The icon for accessing the feature is below and it could be activated within the menu system.  It should be noted that all of the movies and video programming worked with the closed captioning from my observation.

close up of blue and green logo of audio description

The second accessibility feature, I trialed was audio description which would be pretty easy for a sighted individual to activate.  If a user was blind or severally visually impaired they would need sighted assistance to activate the feature but they would definitely benefit from this wonderful support.  Once activated, the movie or video programming was audio described in conjunction with the character’s audio.  I actually watched an entire movie like this and it was a very cool accessibility feature.  It should be noted that not all of the movies or video programming was available with audio description but it is clear that BA has made a significant effort for its non-visual customers so they have a good range of in-flight entertainment during their travels.

Seat back screen showing language options

Overall, I am extremely impressed with British Airways and their efforts to make their in-flight experience enjoyable for those with sensory impairments.  I would be more than happy to suggest BA as a great airline to fly if you are sensory impaired.

Thanks for reading,

Andrew Drummond


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