Flying with hidden disabilities

Old Oct 16, 18, 1:57 am
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Flying with hidden disabilities

There are new CAA guidelines out for those flying with hidden disabilities. It is on Head for Points. Summary points raised.

Have a clear and accessible pre-notification system in place allowing passengers to request special assistance at the point of booking

Share information about a passengerís assistance needs within their own organisation and with the airport and ground handling agents

Ensure a passenger with a hidden disability is seated with a travelling companion at no extra cost

Invest in quality training for staff so hidden disabilities can be identified and passengers assisted accordingly

Ensure passengers with hidden disabilities are looked after in the event of flight delays and cancellations

It is a long time coming. I am profoundly deaf and it is noted on my BAEC account so when making a booking it pops up to ask if I need assistance. Usually I am flying with my hearing husband so it is declined. Assistance usually means you need someone to get to to the gate/aircraft. When on board l, I rely on my husband relaying the announcements. CC and captain announcements are usually reeling off a big long spiel with no pauses and after 5 mins of all that - my husband canít remember half of what is said. Furthermore - it should also mean that all films and tv programs on IFE must automatically come with closed caption subtitles. If no subtitles then it should not be loaded. Had a few LH BA flights where no subtitles and it has spoiled the flight for me.

If any BA CC or in Customer Services here please take note - you are happy to take my money - please provide the service that deaf people and those with hidden disabilities require.

http://publicapps.caa.co.uk/modalapplication.aspx?appid=11&mode=detail&id=8717 . Thanks to Head for Points




Last edited by FEMW; Oct 16, 18 at 2:06 am
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Old Oct 16, 18, 2:02 am
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Thanks for that, I think it helps us understand better the issues behind the headlines.
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Old Oct 16, 18, 2:11 am
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This is the link direct to the Guidance: http://publicapps.caa.co.uk/docs/33/...sabilities.pdf
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Old Oct 16, 18, 2:30 am
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This is much needed, because as @Worcester says, it will help people understand some of the issues faced by disabled travellers. Often, problems arise from providers making inappropriate assumptions about what is needed.
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Old Oct 16, 18, 2:42 am
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Sorry to hear that you didn’t enjoy your flights, the cabin crew would be aware that you have some hearing difficulty and would make a judgement onboard if you need any additional help, travelling with your husband that can assist you we would politely wait until asked.
The only video that automatically come with subtitles is the safety video, there is always some films that come with subtitles, on some systems I grant you there isn’t a lot of choice, no video system that I know of automatically gives subtitles. Our Highlife magazine lists the films available with subtitles and the crew can assist you finding these, did you ask for help?
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Last edited by Can I help you; Oct 16, 18 at 2:57 am
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Old Oct 16, 18, 11:45 am
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Originally Posted by FEMW View Post
Furthermore - it should also mean that all films and tv programs on IFE must automatically come with closed caption subtitles. If no subtitles then it should not be loaded. Had a few LH BA flights where no subtitles and it has spoiled the flight for me.
No need to have to have each and every Film/TV from IFE offerings subtitled, just a suitable selection of full complement with subtitles is needed.

Some airlines offer greater choice than others, but i'd struggle to watch more than 2 full length 2hour films even on a 12hour flight
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Old Oct 16, 18, 12:56 pm
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Long time lurker, first time poster. OH is registered severely sight impaired (everything is out of focus save a tiny area on one eye), he is also deaf, as am I and this is noted on BA and on VS. Check in staff are very good, immediately ask if we need help. Security at LHR and LGW are brilliant, OH is always escorted through and then helped to find me - think about it, he can't see where I am. Don't get me started on security at JFK, EWR, TPA, etc., they are dreadful. OH is always detained, I am waved through but not allowed back to him, he is then abandoned and can't find me, it\s a nightmare. On board the crew are always helpful and attentive. Safety announcements are not a problem, he can't see the video or the crew demos but we've flown many many times so that's no problem.

OH can't see the films but has his iPad with large font and a very powerful magnifying glass with which he can read the headlines on the Times app and he has audio books. I tend not to bother with the films because my hearing aid causes problems with headphones (discomfort at best, distortion of sound otherwise) but am quite happy with the Times on my iPad and books on my Kindle. I suppose a sub-titled film would be possible, I've just never bothered.

What is a real problem is crew announcements. I know you have to read the same guff day after day and so, quite understandably, you recite it very quickly but deaf people miss most if not all the content. Doesn't matter whether it's BA, VS or (last month) Aegean, neither of us has heard much if any content of crew or captain announcements for years.
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Old Oct 17, 18, 9:23 am
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I found quite frequently when I was flying regularly to the US a few years ago that they had not loaded the full complement of films (I believe that the "older" kit didn't have the same capacity), and so it was reminiscent of the 90's when the only content that I could watch were the asian language films with english subs.... I'm profoundly deaf, so while this meant that I got to watch some rather "interesting" content, it was somewhat irritating that I couldn't watch the latest blockbusters....

I also got this once on Virgin, and they actually brought me a small portable dvd player and a bunch of DVDs. Never got that on BA - most I got was a serving (ok, several) of whiskey from the first class cabin...

I never put in my profile that I am hearing impaired, as then that blocks off the exit rows for me...
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Old Oct 17, 18, 9:34 am
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Originally Posted by scubaccr View Post
No need to have to have each and every Film/TV from IFE offerings subtitled, just a suitable selection of full complement with subtitles is needed.

Some airlines offer greater choice than others, but i'd struggle to watch more than 2 full length 2hour films even on a 12hour flight
Which would be fine if the subtitled films are rotated, but in the CC section of BA's IFE, there's quite a lot of films that have been around for months, so if one is regular flyer, the choices become limited very quickly compared with "mainstream" choices.

As for TV shows and box sets, I've never seen one subtitled across the airlines.

I've learned to simply download plenty of Netflix shows, after all the IFE isn't 100% reliable, never mind the subtitles availability.

In the last 10 years, BA has greatly improved their subtitling options and was one of the first airlines to group subtitled movies into a CC folder (I know this as I was in contact with the guy responsible for IFE at Waterside). BA also provides a folder for Audio Description films for partially sighted people.
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Old Oct 17, 18, 10:01 am
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Old Oct 17, 18, 10:16 am
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Originally Posted by scubaccr View Post
No need to have to have each and every Film/TV from IFE offerings subtitled, just a suitable selection of full complement with subtitles is needed.

Some airlines offer greater choice than others, but i'd struggle to watch more than 2 full length 2hour films even on a 12hour flight
Action on Hearing Loss are actively campaigning for every program that is broadcast, on all channels, to have subtitles.

It is is not enough to just have a few - I wanted to see Eddie the Eagle as I am an avid skier but there was no subtitles. It spoiled the flight for me because it was a film that was recently on at the cinema so should have subtitles. Perhaps the subtitled films are the type of movies that I donít watch.
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Old Oct 17, 18, 10:17 am
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Originally Posted by Whiterose View Post
What is a real problem is crew announcements. I know you have to read the same guff day after day and so, quite understandably, you recite it very quickly but deaf people miss most if not all the content. Doesn't matter whether it's BA, VS or (last month) Aegean, neither of us has heard much if any content of crew or captain announcements for years.
I'd be interested to know if any training is given on making announcements via a microphone. I do not have a hearing impairment but I find the majority of public announcements on BA severely lacking. Both microphone technique and public speaking in general deserve far more attention across the aviation sector than they appear to get at present. I always breathe easier when I hear the Aviavox system in use.
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Old Oct 17, 18, 10:23 am
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Originally Posted by xlcus View Post
I found quite frequently when I was flying regularly to the US a few years ago that they had not loaded the full complement of films (I believe that the "older" kit didn't have the same capacity), and so it was reminiscent of the 90's when the only content that I could watch were the asian language films with english subs.... I'm profoundly deaf, so while this meant that I got to watch some rather "interesting" content, it was somewhat irritating that I couldn't watch the latest blockbusters...

I never put in my profile that I am hearing impaired, as then that blocks off the exit rows for me...
The problem re exit rows then becomes a Ďwhat ifí scenario. We have been assigned exit row seats and on reading the T&Cs Iíve had to choose another seat. If the plane ditches at night - the cabinís in darkness and folk are shouting at you to open the emergency exit. But you canít understand what they are saying.... what the crew /captain instructions are. I would imagine thereís a lot of noise going on etc.

I would cover my back by not sitting in an exit row.

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Old Oct 17, 18, 10:26 am
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I have 2 children, 1 ASD and 1 hearing impaired. BA have always given us free seat selection so we can stick together, a quick email after booking and itís sorted. On boarding sometimes we have been approached and asked if any further assistance is needed, and other times not. My hearing impaired child was able to use her specialist headphones that plugged into her hearing aids, but I agree, on this day and age subtitles really should be an option on all films.
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Old Oct 17, 18, 10:36 am
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Originally Posted by FEMW View Post


The problem re exit rows then becomes a Ďwhat ifí scenario. We have been assigned exit row seats and on reading the T&Cs Iíve had to choose another seat. If the plane ditches at night - the cabinís in darkness and folk are shouting at you to open the emergency exit. But you canít understand what they are saying.... what the crew /captain instructions are. I would imagine thereís a lot of noise going on etc.

I would cover my back by not sitting in an exit row.

Agreed, if you're in the window seat. but, if they are ditching and the window seat and mid seat person is trying to get the thing open, it is pretty hard to miss.... I always sit in the aisle seat if I'm in the exit row. And I always try to get an aisle seat anyway...(6'2"). More of a concern to me are those who are visibly frail/require a seat belt extender....
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