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TRAVEL EXPERIENCE FOR DEAF AND HARD-OF-HEARING CUSTOMERS TO IMPROVE WITH NEW BRITISH AIRWAYS PARTNER

TRAVEL EXPERIENCE FOR DEAF AND HARD-OF-HEARING CUSTOMERS TO IMPROVE WITH NEW BRITISH AIRWAYS PARTNER

British Airways is partnering with SigncodeUK, an organisation dedicated to ensuring equal access to information, products and services for the Deaf and hard-of-hearing community.

British Airways has partnered with SigncodeUK to further 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.

SigncodeUK is 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. As part of the airline’s continued commitment to become the airline of choice for customers travelling with additional requirements, it has collaborated with the organisation to produce signed videos which can be accessed either via a link or unique QR code, allowing customers to receive personalised video messages in sign language.

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 booking process, the airport experience, onboard services and the in-flight entertainment offering. It also includes a BSL 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. 

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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.”

Recognising the linguistic diversity within the Deaf community, British Airways and SigncodeUK 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.

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.