9

I have never seen this before, but because most of the in-flight safety instructions appear to be replayed recordings these days (at least in my experience for both domestic and international airlines), I would like to find out how this information is being provided to deaf or hearing impaired passengers. I have never seen a sign language interpreter onboard a flight, so I wonder if this is something that people on this site know about.

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    I'd note that hearing passengers usually ignore the safety instructions. – JonathanReez Mar 31 '17 at 12:30
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    @JonathanReez So maybe we would all pay more attention if it was done in sign language :D – Michael Lai Mar 31 '17 at 12:40
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    @JonathanReez I wouldn't say people "ignore" them so much as once you've heard them once, there's really no reason to pay attention on future flights. And I'd bet most people who are flying have flown before. – ell Mar 31 '17 at 15:24
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    There's been a graphic document in the seat in front of me, possibly on every flight I've ever taken before. – Mikey Mar 31 '17 at 15:33
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    In addition to the safety instructions in every seatback pocket, don't most in-flight safety videos have on-screen closed captioning (or subtitles)? – Nick Weinberg Mar 31 '17 at 17:39
19

Your question is basically no different at all to any situation involving a passenger that does not understand the language that the demo is conducted in, which is why passenger carrying aircraft above a certain capacity are required by most national aviation regulatory bodies to supplement the demo with a flight safety card with illustrations depicting the same info as the demo.

Every seat has a flight safety card in the pocket in front of it, thats enough to satisfy the legal and regulatory requirements for the airline.

enter image description here

For more up-to-date information, there are almost always screens at the gate which can show notices like enter image description here

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    Having a closer look at the safety instruction cards again, they do seem to do a pretty good job of illustrating most of the standard details. However, what about things like the recent incident with Samsung Galaxy phones being banned on flights and other non-standard messages or instructions? – Michael Lai Mar 31 '17 at 12:20
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    @MichaelLai those sort of issues should all be dealt with via notices at check-in and at the gate - the only onboard regulatory requirements are for the emergency notices as above, and they have to be understandable by most people, hence limited text and bright illustrations. Blind and disabled passengers should already have identified themselves prior to boarding and get additional support from onboard staff, deaf people can do something similar but it isnt required. – Moo Mar 31 '17 at 12:25
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    I am sorry, you are right, I have edited the answer, I should've in the first place instead of commenting. – chx Mar 31 '17 at 12:38
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    @MichaelLai the evacuation and flight safety demo is a regulatory requirement the airline legally has to fulfill in a way that most passengers are likely to understand - not taking a banned device onboard is a restriction the passenger is largely responsible for, and the airline is reminding you, but they have no legal obligation to present the information in the same way as the flight safety information. – Moo Mar 31 '17 at 12:48
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    @MichaelLai for Australian regulations on this, see section 14 of the following document legislation.gov.au/Details/F2009C00093/… – Moo Mar 31 '17 at 12:59
7

In addition to the safety information card, many flights with in-flight entertainment systems will play a video to provide the safety briefing. It's common for this video to include subtitles, sometimes in multiple languages, for accessibility.

For example, Delta Air Lines:

Screengrab of video from Delta safety presentation: flight attendant with subtitled text in English and Spanish "I'll be giving a brief safety presentation"

Passengers can simply watch the video and read the text instead of listening to the audio.


I'd add that it's generally understood and accepted that not every passenger on a flight will be able to understand the safety briefing. I've been on a number of flights where the briefing is only conducted in a language or languages I do not understand, and the airline is not normally violating any regulation by failing to provide me with a translator.

Note that airlines may require passengers travel with a "safety assistant" if they aren't able to receive the safety briefing through some means or another, such as "both severe hearing and severe vision impairments."

0

Airports and Airlines are under pressure to make their materials and communications accessible to the Deaf, mostly because of the ADA laws. They have improved, but this doesn't mean that they are perfect. Many are working with Deaf organizations such as NAD to improve accessibility and other organizations offer advice or interpreters for the Deaf such as DeafEurope in cases where companies are not so "Deaf Friendly."

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    And? It's good to know there's outreach/improvements in the area, but how does this answer the question? (Also ADA is an American concept.) – Roddy of the Frozen Peas May 16 at 12:58

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