United Airlines has been applauded by disability advocacy groups after the carrier began to roll-out braille to its aircraft interiors.
Braile, which is a system of raised dots that can be read with the fingers, will help United travelers who have visual disabilities more easily navigate the cabin independently.
According to a statement on July 27, 2023, United has equipped about a dozen aircraft with braille markings for individual rows and seat numbers, as well as inside and outside the lavatories.
United expects to outfit its entire mainline fleet with braille by the end of 2026.
“Finding your seat on a plane or getting to the restroom is something most of us take for granted, but for millions of our customers, it can be a challenge to do independently,” said Linda Jojo, executive vice president, CCO for United. “By adding more tactile signage throughout our interiors, we’re making the flying experience more inclusive and accessible, and that’s good for everyone.”
In addition to adding braille, United is working with the National Federation of the Blind (NFB), the American Council of the Blind (ACB) and other disability advocacy groups to explore the use of other tactile navigational aids throughout the cabin such as raised letters, numbers and arrows.
“We applaud United for taking an important step toward making its aircraft more accessible to blind passengers,” said NFB president Mark Riccobono. “The flight experience is often frustrating for a number of reasons, one of which is the amount of information that is available exclusively through printed signs and other visual indicators. We hope to continue working with United to explore additional ways to make flying more accessible and less stressful for blind passengers.”
For the eighth-straight year, United was recognized as a Best Place to Work for Disability Inclusion and earned a top score on the Disability Equality Index benchmarking tool, a joint initiative of the American Association of People with Disabilities and Disability:IN, to advance the inclusion of people with disabilities.
The airline has already redeveloped its App to make it easier to use for people with visual disabilities and fitted entertainment screens with a wide range of accessible features.