Virgin Atlantic announces accessible inflight entertainment for customers with sight loss

Inflight entertainment has come a long way since the days of one TV screen to share between multiple rows on a plane. But now Virgin Atlantic is taking it even further with dedicated inflight entertainment for visually impaired customers.

Working with Bluebox Aviation Systems, who designed the technology, they partnered with Guide Dogs for the Blind to develop the special kit and considered a number of impairments that it could benefit, including blindness, partial vision and sensitivity to brightness. 

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The technology will enable blind customers to enjoy the full range of inflight entertainment via specially adapted iPads. The platform includes audio descriptions, large type and consistent layout and controls.

“Nearly 30 years ago, Virgin Atlantic was the first airline to offer seat back entertainment in all cabins, so it’s apt that we should be the first to ensure our entertainment is fully accessible across all flights,” Mark Anderson, executive vice president – customer at Virgin Atlantic, said. “Working with Bluebox and Guide Dogs for the Blind we’ve been able to create a world first that ensures customers with sight loss can experience the full range of onboard entertainment including the latest blockbusters, TV shows and albums.”

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John Welsman, policy business partner for travel and transport for the charity Guide Dogs, added: “We know that something as simple as an inflight entertainment system with voice overs and audio descriptions will help passengers with sight loss to enjoy flights just like anyone else on board. As someone with sight loss who flies quite often myself, I think it’ll be wonderful to access entertainment and information on Virgin planes without needing to ask for help. Now having to call for cabin crew or disturb fellow passengers around me who might be sleeping will be great.

“The charity Guide Dogs works hard to make sure that people who are blind or partially sighted are not left out of life, and so we’re delighted that Virgin Atlantic is helping passengers with sight loss to be more independent on board their planes by providing accessible inflight entertainment.”

Find out more and book your next flight on the Virgin Atlantic website.

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