United Airlines’ mainline cabin interiors will all include Braille by 2026 to aid travelers with visual disabilities, the airline announced on Thursday.
United has already outfitted a dozen of its aircrafts with Braille markings to indicate rows and seat numbers, as well as added them inside and outside the lavatories, which the airline says will help millions of travelers with visual impairments to navigate the cabins with more ease.
"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 and chief customer officer at 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."
The move makes United the first airline in the United States to add Braille to its entire main fleet. United is also partnering with the National Federation of the Blind (NFB), the American Council of the Blind (ACB), and other disability advocacy groups to determine any other navigational aids that could be added to its aircrafts, such as raised letters, numbers, and arrows.
"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," said NFB President Mark Riccobono. “We hope to continue working with United to explore additional ways to make flying more accessible and less stressful for blind passengers."
The U.S. Department of Transportation estimates that around 27 million people with disabilities traveled by air in 2019.
"We appreciate the airline's continued exploration of additional in-flight navigational aids like large print and tactile indicators," said ACB Interim Executive Director Dan Spoone. and we encourage all airlines to follow United's lead in making air travel more inclusive for the blind and low vision community."