Deaf FTers?

Reply

Old Feb 2, 11, 6:53 pm
  #46  
 
Join Date: Mar 2003
Location: IAD
Programs: United MP
Posts: 7,147
I started losing my hearing at age 11. I didn't start learning ASL until 18. It took me about 6 years to really master it, although I did well enough with signed English much quicker than that.
DeafFlyer is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old Jan 20, 12, 7:36 pm
  #47  
 
Join Date: Apr 2011
Programs: Delta, American, United
Posts: 217
I am not deaf myself, but I do actually have AA in ASL.
I often travel with my Deaf friends, whether it is via car, Train, or plane!!!
DavenM is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old Oct 11, 13, 8:10 am
  #48  
 
Join Date: Oct 2013
Location: EWR
Posts: 35
Newly Hearing Impaired

This year I have lost 90% of the hearing in my left ear (no specific diagnosis), the 10% that is left results in sound distortion.

If I am talking one on one with someone in a quiet place I have no problem. Noisy places mean my brain becomes overwhelmed with the mix of normal and abnormal sounds and the result is a muffled mess. Not knowing where sound is coming from has required some adjustment, like standing in front of a bank of elevators, I hear the ping, but have no idea if the arriving elevator is to my left or right.

I am a solo leisure traveler, usually fly Europe once or twice a year and somewhere in the US 2 or 3 times per year. Thanks to points and miles mostly in business class.

Some of the airlines I use allow free seat selection at ticket purchase time (United) and some do not (British Airways). I prefer to sit in an aisle seat with the good ear facing the crew. On a plane or in the airport I can no longer understand the announcements. But that probably only matters in an emergency.

On the disability scale I know I am way at the bottom but do people like me put this in their frequent flyer information? I hestitate to identify myself as deaf as I have some hearing. I have concerns that my name may be called out when travelling and I won't know.

Looking forward to the future it is possible that the right ear will suffer the same problem and I hope hearing aids will work for me. I also suffer from arthritis in my hands and would not be able to sign but I hope to take lip reading classes next year.

Since my hearing loss I have flown and all has gone smoothly.

Interested to hear about other peoples coping mechanisms.
voyages99 is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old Oct 11, 13, 8:22 am
  #49  
Moderator: Women Travelers and Disability Travel
 
Join Date: Sep 2004
Location: DEN
Posts: 1,919
Originally Posted by voyages99 View Post
On the disability scale I know I am way at the bottom but do people like me put this in their frequent flyer information? I hestitate to identify myself as deaf as I have some hearing. I have concerns that my name may be called out when travelling and I won't know.
I think you've answered your own question here. If you're concerned that you will not hear announcements, you should take advantage of whatever accommodations are available!

Welcome to FlyerTalk.
Katja is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old Oct 11, 13, 7:14 pm
  #50  
 
Join Date: Mar 2003
Location: IAD
Programs: United MP
Posts: 7,147
There's no disability scale. I would say something to the airline when booking, or when checking in, and in a profile if I had one, if I were you. If there is a need to know what's being announced then, if they know about you, they might come and tell you. They do not always do so, but it/s nice when they do.
DeafFlyer is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old Oct 19, 13, 12:44 am
  #51  
 
Join Date: Aug 2012
Programs: AC Altitude E50K (*G), NEXUS
Posts: 3,764
It is in my profile with Air Canada and I add it to every itinerary (they have a field for "special needs" which uses a wheelchair pictogram, but when you select it, there are options to clarify if the disability is visual, auditory, mobility etc.)
Most of the time, the cabin crew check in to various degrees, ranging from "can you lipread?" (to which I say "if you thought there was a chance I could not, why would you not have come with that question in writing??") to a full-on personal seat-side performance of the flight safety briefing. And then there are flights like the last two, where nobody acknowledged it at all.
If they acknowledge it, I tell them I don't need to have them tell me announcements like the captain's name and the weather at the destination, but if there is anything important, come and give me a written note. The only time where that was relevant, they didn't, and I ended up with a 25% credit for compensation
I don't need to be treated like I am stupid and inexperienced about flying. How can you go up to a 50,000 mile/year passenger and ask "have you flown before?" And really, was there a need for the flight attendant to make me demonstrate the fastening and releasing of the seatbelt to prove to her that I knew how it worked? It was ON at the time!
As a deafened person, I understand the self-questioning about "am I deaf enough to label myself deaf?" and I agree with DeafFlyer and Katja: there's no entrance exam. Claim it and move on with it. State your needs as though it was your worst day, because you never know what conditions will be at the time they use the information. I have "normal" speech, and routinely, when I talk to airline personnel, I use a "deaf voice" otherwise they will not believe that I cannot hear as well as I speak. I need them to believe it is real, and I will put on whatever kind of show I need to convince them.
(By the way, I know lots of older deaf people with arthritis in their hands who sign, and have done all their lives, so just for what it's worth...)
Welcome to FT!
flyquiet is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old Oct 25, 13, 9:16 am
  #52  
 
Join Date: Oct 2013
Location: EWR
Posts: 35
Thank you Katja, DeafFlyer, and flyquiet for your thoughtful responses. Especially
"Claim it and move on with it." . I will add a disability notification in my frequent flyer accounts and from now on I will tell the gate agent and crew that I will not hear any special announcements.
And I am looking into sign language classes..............
Many thanks
voyages99 is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old Oct 25, 13, 10:05 pm
  #53  
 
Join Date: Aug 2012
Programs: AC Altitude E50K (*G), NEXUS
Posts: 3,764
Good luck voyages99.
Off topic: I answered you while I was at ALDAcon, conference of the association of late-deafened adults. You might check into that association alda.org and see if there is any comfort to be gained from that network.
flyquiet is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old Nov 3, 13, 8:18 am
  #54  
 
Join Date: Oct 2008
Location: Northumberland, UK and outback Australia.
Programs: BA gold
Posts: 3,797
Everyone's different, with variable hearing loss, and how the brain/personality can deal with that.

I fly roughly once a month, mostly between UK/Australia and I rarely tell the airline at the booking stage that I'm deaf.

Occasionally, depending on my observations of the activities at the gate, I will let the gate agent know that I can't hear any special/important announcements or if I'm unfamiliar with an airline's procedures.

On board, I usually let the cabin crew know I'm deaf and would like to know the meal choices before we're airborne as it's a bit difficult hear once we're up in the air.

All in all, the less fuss, the better for me personally.
Stez is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old Jan 14, 14, 12:48 am
  #55  
 
Join Date: Jun 2001
Location: Australia
Posts: 306
Wow that's very interesting...

Let the airlines know that you're deaf, they will give u priority tag, short-cut queue at x-ray check and immigration, preboarding - so that you can have lots of time to take photos of empty seats, have a chat with flight attendant - let them know who you are and will talk to ya about safety brief one to one, press button for helps and so on. After landing, short cut queue, ride a mobile car around the terminal and pick baggages quickly then off.

Most of time, airlines have forgotten to call airport staff to help deaf people.

Top airlines that help disabled people
1) Thai Airways/Singapore Airlines (both are tied - very attentive to the disabled passenger and helpful)
2) Emirates (Friendly cabin crews were very eager to help them but not ground staff at the airport -due to third parties)
3) Air New Zealand (know how to communicate with deaf pax - international only)
4) Air Canada/United (have done very good job to help them in domestic only but not international)
5) Qantas/Virgin Australia

Last edited by Bluesky; Jan 14, 14 at 1:03 am
Bluesky is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old Jan 23, 14, 10:22 pm
  #56  
 
Join Date: Jan 2014
Location: Tampa
Programs: United MP, Delta Skypesos, SPG, Chase UR
Posts: 8
I'm deaf here! Just joined the forum. This thread I will stay subscribed.
Turb0x3r is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old Jan 24, 14, 8:56 am
  #57  
 
Join Date: Mar 2003
Location: IAD
Programs: United MP
Posts: 7,147
Welcome to Flyertalk!
DeafFlyer is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old Jan 24, 14, 9:37 pm
  #58  
 
Join Date: Jan 2014
Location: Tampa
Programs: United MP, Delta Skypesos, SPG, Chase UR
Posts: 8
Originally Posted by DeafFlyer View Post
Welcome to Flyertalk!
Thank You!

Looking forward to all the help when I need it in the future.
Turb0x3r is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old Mar 15, 14, 1:23 pm
  #59  
 
Join Date: Apr 2007
Location: SFO
Programs: UA
Posts: 100
Just wanted to check in as another Deaf FTer

I have no qualms about asking for accommodations to make the overall experience less stressful for me. I always ask for announcements to be written down at the gate and preboarding. I request preboarding because if they use a group boarding system, I have no idea when it's my turn and it can be stressful so it's easier for me just to go board when I see people entering (typically with first class or when the FA calls me over). I've tried to cut the line at security but I'm not often successful so I've stopped trying for most part. It's not something that I really need though.

When there's an option for deaf/hearing impaired when purchasing the ticket or in my FF profile, I select it. If there's just a general disabled/special assistance option, I don't check it because that typically means someone meeting me with a wheelchair.

I agree on United about being very accommodating and I recently flew ANA which was really nice to me and even gave me cute handwritten cards with relevant information about the flight and destination
emika is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old Mar 15, 14, 7:54 pm
  #60  
 
Join Date: Aug 2012
Programs: AC Altitude E50K (*G), NEXUS
Posts: 3,764
Dear fellow Deaf FTers,

I'm embroiled in a squabble with an airline currently in which I identified as DEAF on my profile and also on my boarding pass, but they did not ensure I had information about a gate change because I did not ALSO go up to the desk and identify myself in person at the gate.

I'm intentionally not identifying the airline, because I am interested in this issue across airlines.

My airline does have a specific "special assistance" check box on the online ticket purchase dialogue that has a wheelchair icon but when you check it, additional options appear and one of those is deaf and hard-of-hearing. I always do this, and verify that my boarding pass has the word "deaf" printed on it.

To the best of my knowledge, based on a lot of flying with this airline, there is nothing that stipulates any additional responsibility for me to self-identify in any other manner.

Further, when I approach the gate agents, intending to self-identify, they invariably look annoyed because I am interrupting their Very Important Work, and greet (i.e., try to ignore) me like I am gate lice, the people who smother the staff looking for free upgrades and pre boarding.

When I manage to express the reason I am presenting myself, the gate agents have variously hissed at me that they will get to me when they get to me, looked at me like "what do you want me to do about it?", and told me to "sit down over there". Indeed, on one previous occasion, I did "sit down over there" after being barked at three times to do it as three other flights departed from a gate labelled with my destination and flight number. "We. Will. Get. You. Sit. Down!" They never did. I waited until the door was about to close, and boarded myself.

Often, particularly with delays, the gate personnel change, so the people that know I am deaf are long gone before boarding. Suppose I identify myself and that agent knows, do I have to repeat it every time there are staff changes? How do they communicate who I am and what I look like when handing off to another agent? In my opinion, I do not "look deaf", i.e., there is no distinctiveness to my appearance they can describe. To me, it defies logic that self-identifying at the gate helps anything. There is a deaf person on the manifest. You know what seat he or she will board into. If the plane begins to board and that passenger/seat is not boarding, it seems like it would be a simple task to look for an oblivious person who did not hear the announcement. Maybe write the surname on a sheet of paper and hold it up (like the limousine drivers do). It would even make sense to have a card to hold up that says "Preboarding passengers with disabilities" when there is a deaf passenger on the manifest.

I tend to approach the agents at the point where they begin to make announcements, and what I say is "this is me [point at word DEAF on BP]. You seem to be making announcements but I cannot hear you. I am on this flight and YOU need to make sure (a) I get on this flight, and (b) I do not get on any other flight."

On this occasion, the agents were working through various papers at the gate, talking to each other, and passengers were pestering them because there was a delay. Because of the past experiences, I figured I would identify once we had a revised departure time and prior to the need to pre board. I knew the aircraft was not there yet, because I was watching the inbound flight on Flightstats. I had no need for any special attention at that time. I have taken this flight maybe 5 times a year for several years and it was always the same gate. Well, I went to the washroom, and they were GONE. The gate was not shown on the app, and I received no notification from the airline of the gate change despite registering for updates. After a stomach-dropping few moments, I collected myself and figured out how to locate them and arrived home without further ado, but I thought they should apologize and commit to changes to their procedures, so I complained.

Airline is denying any wrongdoing because I failed to self-identify at the gate. They're going scorched earth to blame it on me to get out of agreeing they failed and need to fix the process. (They have already awarded me miles in compensation but have not agreed that their process was inadequate.) Their extreme effort to blame me seems nonsensical to me.

The airline conceded that it says "deaf passenger" on the manifest. Is it not reasonable they would err on the side of access and at least leave a post-it note saying "dear deaf passenger: we moved flight 123 to gate ABC" rather than assuming that on this occasion, I was travelling with my butler, or something?

I contend that I cannot "fail" to perform any action that I had no duty to perform, and they did not explicitly assign me any such duty.

As a deaf flyer, have you ever been told by the airline anything in writing at any material time that says "oh, in addition to all of that, also identify yourself at the gate"? If so, does it identify how, when, and to whom that self-identification is to be done?

I am directing this question to those who are deaf, not hard of hearing or who can hear overhead paging in the airport. I'm also not asking hearing people what you think we should do.

I am not asking for opinions on whether self-identifying would have helped or not. Possibly it would have helped, but I do suspect that if I had self-identified on arriving at the gate 90 minutes before the flight, and then they changed staff or forgot, they would still blame me for not re-self-identifying. I think they would just keep making up undisclosed things I "failed" to do, up to the point where I am supposed to read their mind and invent the idea of wearing a top hat with a neon sign blinking "deaf-deaf-deaf" and sitting on the floor beside their desk like a dog. (BTW all the "special services" seats near the desk were taken by people with no disabilities and they were permitting that to happen. I couldn't have sat in the designated "special services" chairs if I wanted to.)

I think in accusing me of "failing" to self-identify at the gate, they are relying on "common sense" and not an explicit duty, so I am asking whether you have ever been aware that an airline has explicitly given you the duty to self-identify in any manner other than in the passenger profile and ticket purchase.
flyquiet is offline  
Reply With Quote

Thread Tools
Search this Thread
 
  • Ask a Question
    Get answers from community experts
Question Title:
Description:
Your question will be posted in: