Air Travel Access – To Read and Take Action

May 30, 2013 Comments Off on Air Travel Access – To Read and Take Action

It’s past time to talk to everyone concerned about Captioning for Air Travel – due to some very important new developments.

a. For background, read this short post we published in January – as well as the comment there.

b. There’s a very important new Senate Bill 556 in the USA Congress, introduced by Sen. Harkin some months ago – and there is movement on it now. If you look at the information below, you’ll see that CCAC was one of the first to comment on the Senate website Senator Harkin has. He also has a facebook page. We are aiming to talk with him and others to develop some ground-swell on this. Let’s collaborate! Email us at

c. CCAC members are considering a new Flyer for this. It’s low or no cost, easy to create, and easy to distribute. Who wants to help with design or other campaign aspects of this Email

d. Let’s discuss here, in CCAC membership online (for members we have a great google group – join the CCAC first (free) – then you are also subscribed for one email a day, none, or all messages)….

e. What else do you think will be needed to see this Bill become law? As you know, there are many steps in the process.

f. The Bill is for everyone – international too – since it concerns all flights entering or leaving from the USA.

Looking forward to your comments and energies.


Earlier information on the CCAC Web – look over the tabs for Advocacy and Resources (Transportation). The listings of many airlines and access are not all and we welcome new information to add there at any time. There are also new discussions on social media. If you are involved in one, please email to advise us with the web address for it.

First, the new Senate Bill 556 – Senate Bill 556 for Air Travel Access with captioning. Many letters of support please!

And, ADA, Air Carriers Access Act Amendments Introduced by Senator Harkin Would Require Captions, Video Description in Movie Theaters, on Flights, Press release issued March 13, 2013

 NB: CCAC focus here is for Air Travel – there are two separate bills, not to confuse them since both need citizen support and both important, the other one for cinema – on land, not in the air)

Sen. Tom Harkin (D-IA), long-time champion of the rights of people with disabilities and author of the Americans with Disabilities Act, has introduced new amendments to the ADA and to the Air Carriers Access Act to expand access to media. These new bills promise to fully include people with sensory disabilities in two key venues for entertainment and information: movie theaters and airlines. They require captions and video description in movie theaters as well as in-flight entertainment, and include provisions for making seat-back touch-screens accessible on airlines.

Press release from the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP):


Next, more from the CCAC web resources on AIR TRAVEL:

 Joint campaigns with other organizations welcome. Notify us of any corrections needed.Air Travel - lots of interest in access with Captions for Movies on board, TV shows on board, Airport and airline announcements. Domestic and International flights, both. Please share anything you know here - in discussion in CCAC and needs a team to develop the start of an advocacy campaign. Complex issues, yet can be quite simple campaign to start with to raise awareness and advocate. Discuss here or email to

Air Travel – lots of interest in access with Captions for Movies on board, TV shows on board, Airport and airline announcements. Domestic and International flights, both.  One good report for USA here:
Please share anything you know via email to CCAC, in addition to below.  Needs a team to develop the start of an advocacy campaign. Complex issues, yet can be quite simple campaign to start with to raise awareness and advocate. Discuss here or email to with your ideas and action plans.
On board flights, there are safety instructions, TV shows, films, and announcements from the crew. CCAC suggests all need access via quality captioning.
United -4/13 report from CCAC friend that Direct TV on overseas flights now have cc (for television programs). Re films, information requested….
American – no captions except for safety instructions (domestic and international)
Delta – Delta has added captioning in English and either Spanish or the language of destination to all safety demonstration videos. No information re TV or films on board.
(Delta on long haul flights – unclear info even re safety videos).
Swiss Air has excellent cartoons for the safety instructions, in three languages (English, French, Italian);
Royal Thai airlines flight safety instruction has both sign language and captioning.
Cathay Pacific is reported to have some captioning.
El Al has Hebrew captions in its in-flight movies.
BA shows captioned movies/films on many flights. Recent flight Boston USA to London UK had 4 of 41 films with subtitles.
Emirates shows captioned films also it’s reported.
Qantas ditto for films on international flights.
More on Qantas from CCAC member 4/13:QANTAS displays captions on screens in the terminal as well as captions for the news bulletin which is for domestic flights only. The quality of the captions in-flight are excellent because they are pre-captioned, whereas in the terminal the captions are generally live and the quality is variable.  This occurred many years ago and was facilitated by Media Access Australia’s late Chairman, who had worked for QANTAS in a senior role.QANTAS have also recently been trialing use of iPads and Apple devices on some flights with a new audiovisual streaming service. QANTAS had not turned on the ‘Voice Over’ function and this was picked up by Australia’s Disability Discrimination Commissioner, who  is blind and travels exclusively with QANTAS.
Virgin ditto for films.
All Nippon Airways (ANA) with United: Washington D.C. to Taipei, Taiwan: Neither IAD, Tokyo Narita, and Taipei Taoyuan international airports had captioning of intercom announcements. Videtaped safety instructions with captioning on newer United planes.
(Reporter believes new United plane also had U. S. movies with captions – yet not confirmed). Show, e.g. Japanese films with English subtitles.
Air Canada safety videos are bi-lingual (English/French), and so are the captions.
and AC domestic flights have French language movies (mostly from Quebec) that are captioned in English.International flights add a selection of “world” movies, also captioned.
JetBlue (Boston to Florida) – no captioning, no video at all for safety instructions.
American Airlines – domestic? international? no information yet…
British Air information – they say they will update soon, e.g. see
NB: not all flights for any airline as above; depends on age of plane and the route perhaps, yet it’s good to know it is there and important to mention it/advocate for your self and others if it’s missing)
Reported that…many “long haul” flights (out of UK, Australia, and ?) have captioning on TV programs on board, e.g. British Airways, Virgin Atlantic, Air France, Qantas
 Continental flights – Closed caption TV available on Continental flights January 7, 2012 (and later in 2011 on some routes); domestic only – need info re full length films, anyone?
Request for information about systems on board, e.g. if cc used for TV, can it be used for movies/films during flight too? or ?
Feb 2013: Egypt Air
Flight from London to Cairo – Cairo to Luxor – Luxor to London
They are no captions in English for safety and films.
Films advertise caption in English did not work only Arabic showing captions.
Access and clear communication awareness – poor

Access to safety instruction – spoken English and Arabic – sign language in Arabic
Monitor at back seat going out to Cairo – showing voice instruction in English and Arabic, Arabic signing in small box (too small) No access to safety for d/Deaf westerner travellers
No monitor from Cairo to Luxor and Luxor to London – monitor from ceiling too small to see signer and again lack safety instruction for d/Deaf westerners travellers

CCAC also participated in this earlier effort, see – Anyone have an update on this?



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