Sunday, November 2, 2014

Air Canada improves access for the vision impaired

Air Canada has become the first airline in the world to introduce ‘text-to-speech’ functionality on its in-flight entertainment system, making it easier
for blind and vision impaired passengers to navigate.

The feature is available on Boeing 787s, which have recently been introduced to Air Canada’s fleet. An Air Canada spokesman, Peter Fitzpatrick, said, “We use a female voice in English and male voice in French. Voices are fed from the text-to-speech software that Air Canada licenses to operate its content management system.”

Air Canada has also been looking at the possibility of adding audio description to its in-flight movies. In August 2014, Emirates became the 
first airline to provide audio description, with the service made available on 17 Disney movies.

These developments come in the wake of a US Department of Transportation notice of proposed rulemaking about accessible in-flight entertainment systems, which it intends to implement in 2015.