What makes an airline Deaf friendly?


There’s hundreds of airlines around the world.

However, not all airlines are accessible for Deaf and hard of hearing travellers.

I travelled to London with Korean Air in July 2013, and while it was a fantastic airline, I was astounded to discover that their collection of Hollywood blockbusters did not have English captions.

Nothing wrong with foreign films, though – they did keep me mildly entertained. There were a couple of Hollywood blockbusters I hadn’t seen…yet they only had subtitles in either Chinese or Korean.

You see, I don’t know an ounce of either language. Not even one word.

English subtitles would be really awesome.

According to a number of Deaf and hard of hearing travellers, Emirates is one of the most Deaf-friendly airlines in the world. Cathay Pacific and Qantas are also Deaf friendly.

The question plagues our minds…

How can an airline be Deaf friendly?

– Flight attendants trained in International Sign, British Sign Language, American Sign Language or any other sign language. They don’t have to be fully fluent – knowing the basics would be helpful.

– All movies and TV shows provided on personal entertainment systems to be subtitled in English AND other languages. It’d be awesome if airlines provided Netflix ๐Ÿ˜‰

– PA announcements to show up in English on personal entertainment systems.

– All crew and ground staff within the airline to receive Deafness Awareness Training prior to commencing employment.

– Safety announcements in sign language. Thai Airways already does this, which is extremely impressive.

– Safety announcements to be captioned. From my experience, Qantas and Korean Air does this. If you know of an airline who does this, please let me know.


Flying completely deaf,

S xo


  1. I went to Thailand with a layover in Kuala Lumpur via Malaysia Airlines and they have a sign language interpreter in the safety announcement video. Impressive although, but I don’t understand half of what was said in the video. Haha. The irony was not a single movie offered in English captions. Only foreign language movies do. I’m looking forward to try out Cathay Pacific in October and make a comparison between them ๐Ÿ™‚

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