Travel Experience for Deaf and Partially Deaf Customers to Improve with New British Airways and Signcode UK Partnership
In a significant move towards inclusivity, British Airways has partnered with Signcode UK, an organization dedicated to equal access for the deaf and partially deaf community. This collaboration aims to enhance the travel experience for deaf and partially deaf customers by providing them with vital travel information in signed video format, including the airline’s onboard safety briefing. This innovative offering exemplifies British Airways’ commitment to ensuring its services are accessible to everyone.
With over 150,000 people in the UK communicating primarily or preferring British Sign Language (BSL), this partnership represents a significant step forward. It enables customers to access personalized video messages in sign language through a unique QR code or a provided link. Deaf and partially deaf customers can access essential travel information before their journey and while onboard.
Signcode UK specializes in translating key information into signed videos and promotes equal access to information, products, and services for the community. By collaborating with this organization, British Airways seeks to become the airline of choice for customers with additional requirements.
British Airways Services and Onboard Safety Procedures
The first video, available for viewing before traveling on ba.com, offers an extensive overview of British Airways’ services throughout the journey. It covers the booking process, airport experience, onboard services, and in-flight entertainment offerings. The video also features an introduction in BSL by Fredrick Da Costa, British Airways’ first Deaf Customer Experience Agent, who uses BSL in his role. Its purpose is to empower customers by providing them with the necessary information to make informed travel choices.
By the end of 2023, a second video will be available focusing on onboard safety features and procedures. This video can be accessed on ba.com. It is also available through a QR code from British Airways Mainline cabin crew mobile devices. It allows customers to view a signed video safety briefing on their devices. Alternatively, customers receive a personalized briefing delivered face-to-face by the crew. This is an existing service offered to deaf or partially deaf customers.
With this partnership, British Airways is taking a significant step towards enhancing the travel experience, ensuring inclusivity and accessibility on their flights.
Ensuring All Passengers Travel with Confidence
“We are proud to partner with Signcode UK to further improve our accessibility offering,” said Carrie Harris, Director of Sustainability at British Airways. “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 Signcode UK, said: “Working with British Airways and making the Deaf community aware of the services available to them has been a privilege and an honor. British Airways is an iconic British brand committed to accessibility, not only for its customers but also for its 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.”
BA Works Toward Linguistic Diversity in Communication
Recognizing the linguistic diversity within the Deaf community, British Airways and Signcode UK have collaborated to provide videos in British Sign Language (BSL) and American Sign Language (ASL). They are also exploring the possibility of expanding into other languages, such as Spanish. The airline plans to enhance its BSL video content further in the coming year.
British Airways also supports customers who are deaf or partially deaf through a minicom system. This system comprises a small electronic typewriter and screen linked to a phone system to send and receive messages. The airline collaborates with SignLive to use British Sign Language in customer engagement centers. BSL customers can contact the airline using a Video Relay Service provided by SignLive. This free service connects customers to a qualified online BSL interpreter. They assist in relaying the conversation between the customer and a member of British Airways’ accessibility team.
About Signcode UK
Signcode UK is dedicated to promoting equality for the deaf community and raising awareness about their communication needs. The company employs deaf translators, video creators, software editors, and fully qualified interpreters. Signcode UK’s liaison team comprises community members with global connections. They ensure that news about the company’s latest developments and work with Signcode UK reaches deaf communities. Understanding the needs of the deaf audience, Signcode UK has access to over 22 signed languages. Learn more about Signcode UK here.