Why In-Flight Entertainment Needs to Be Better for Deaf/Hard of Hearing Passengers [CC]
Articles,  Blog

Why In-Flight Entertainment Needs to Be Better for Deaf/Hard of Hearing Passengers [CC]


Over the past few years, I’ve been lucky
enough to go to Australia. It’s a long flight, it’s from Edinburgh to Melbourne
and it takes around…21 hours, approximately, depending on the stopover. So 21 hours approximately and as you can imagine, the majority of it is obviously
on the plane. So what do you do, because obviously, you need to keep yourself
entertained along the way. Now sometimes I like to do some work, sometimes I like
to read a little bit, my book, but then sometimes I just want to watch a film. Nowadays, I think it’s quite impressive that the in-flight entertainment system that they have it’s quite quite good, isn’t it? It’s quite you know…wide variety of things that you can watch or listen or read and it’s a good time for me to
watch things that I’ve always wanted to watch because I just don’t go to the
cinemas at all because of the lack of captions, you know availability, and it
makes it hard to find one that suits you in the right time, in the right place. So I
thought this would be a good time for me to watch all these movies that I have
never seen because I couldn’t watch them in the cinema, so I thought “okay, let me
watch it on the plane”. Or that was the original plan. The thing is on most occasion those airlines, they tend to provide the latest
films, movies that are in the cinemas or recently been in cinemas and I thought,
“great, I want to watch these and let’s go for it”. But they’re not captioned and that makes it very tricky because I’ve talked about
it in a separate video where I have talked about the problems of a person
like myself who is either d/Deaf or hard of hearing and they go on the plane, go
to the airport and you have all these challenges that you have to go through. And part of that is when you’re on the plane, it’s so hard to hear anything
because of the background noise and I struggle with that massively. It’s hard
enough to be able to even hear anyone, a person sitting beside, me let alone hear
what is said on the actual film. So that means that I couldn’t watch the majority of the films on that, and even non of the programs. Because in my experience
very very few them tend to be captioned in terms of films and again in my
experience, none of the program that we always see on TV,
none of them are captioned either. Normally I just accept it. That’s what I’ve been doing all the time all these times I’ve been traveling on a plane and just
thought you know I’ll just watch something else that you never wanted to
watch anyway or watch a foreign film which you know sometimes I don’t mind
watching foreign films. But there are two things wrong with that. The first of all
if I want to want to watch the foreign films rather than because I have
no other option. If you chose it because it’s your choice, that’s okay. But if it’s
because you don’t have any other option or you’re limited and you’re forced to
watch her when you want to watch something, that’s different. That’s not really
something that I wanted to do. I want to be able to think like “yes I want to
watch that foreign film”. But that didn’t happen on this occasion because none of
them really were something that I wanted to watch. And then on the other hand,
those foreign film that I did watch it kind of frustrated me because, yes they
have the captions at the bottom and it’s actually subtitles become it’s translated
and I’ve talked about that, the difference between captions and subtitle.
But it’s not just about that. They done that, well…you know…for me, I think it’s
the right translation. I’m just gonna assume that the done the right job. But the
frustrating part is, when there is a particular scene in the foreign film and
they speak English and they don’t even caption THAT and I’m lost completely
and that was ohhhh…it’s just aarrrgh. I was really frustrated because I was like, “right, okay I’m following along, watching a storyline” and then there was a scene where there was a character who is
actually speaking English and they didn’t caption it at all.
[Blows raspberry] Part of the
irony is that I read an article about the ‘Top 10 airline with flight entertainment’.
the top two were Qatar and Emirates. And I flew with both of them over the past
few years and they were awful in my experience. I’m sure for other people,
they are a delight in terms of the in-flight entertainment. But for me? Terrible! I
had very little options and it made me wonder “are they all like that? Are all the
airline like that?” Is it possible to have 100% captioned films and programmes,
because the programmes were literally zero were captioned. Literally zero, when I
flew with him recently. So I thought I’ll do some research and look at the website
and just pick a few airline and see what they have to say about their in-flight
entertainment and whether they are accessible or not for many people, not
just for d/Deaf and hard of hearing. So I’m on my phone looking at it. This is one is Qantas.
I’m trying to find out information about whether you know they are caption the
videos at all. You can see it right, it says “we provide captioning on some of
our in-flight entertainment programs and movies”.That’s true, because I flew it with
Qantas recently as well and *some* is the correct way of saying it. It’s just some of them.
Let’s have a look at Virgin Atlantic and they have a section called ‘Assistance if
you are hearing impaired’. Great, “hearing impaired”, that’s a nice way of saying it. Let’s look at the onboard entertainment “There is also a selection of captioned
movies available throughout your flight.” They didn’t really say how many, did they?
They said “a selection”. That implies again that it’s “some of them” as well.
Then let’s check Emirates who could have done a lot better with their website by making it
responsive, so let’s just zoom in and I can see right there it says the “closed
captioning the technology that shows active dialogue as well…”it’s like they’re
trying to tell us what is closed captioning. That doesn’t make any sense
whatsoever. “We typically offer about 30 new release movies with closed captioning
each month. Hmmm, I’m not sure about that I’m not sure about the movie. Maybe it’s
movies from different countries and you know different places, that’s fair enough. But if those Hollywood, blockbuster movies then that’s not true. Because
I again recently flew with them and I had very little option of those that we
see in the cinema, I had very little option of seeing them in captions as well. Let’s
check out Qatar as well and if you go down where we can find about…hmmm…sensory…oh there we go ‘Sensory Impairment’. Oh look at that. “Hearing impaired passengers”…
Great. Nice. Nice way of saying it. So it says “on board, our crew offer safety
briefing and the in-flight safety video displays subtitles in English and
Arabic”. And I can’t really find anything out about their entertainment system. And I
did look further, and I literally couldn’t find anything about that. And Qatar didn’t do a good
job in terms of making the videos available to everyone as well. Let’s try
another one British Airways. Let’s see what they have to say about this. “Do you offer programmes with audio description or closed captions?” And here’s what they said: “We try to provide as many program with audio description or closed caption as
possible, depending on what is available from the distributors of the content. We
are constantly evaluating our program to ensure we are doing all we can to
provide a more comprehensive entertainment experience for everyone”. So
again, that’s all dependent on other factors and I’m going to come back to
the about the distributors in a second. But again, that also implies *some* because
they say the try to provide as many as possible but not all of them, is it? Let’s try one more with KLM, because I flew with them recently as well. And uh, I can’t
really find anything really…wait a second, here it is. And it says, this section here
about “more than 200 films including recent releases, classics and world
cinema. Many of these you can view in Arabic Chinese Dutch English French German
Japanese Korean Portuguese or Spanish”. And then they mentioned television
programs and albums and kids channels, game. But it doesn’t really say about
captions. It just said you can view in those languages, which I’m assuming that means you can hear them but not really watch
them captioned in those languages. And guess what? In my experiences, that is correct
because not a lot of their films are captioned and none of their programs are
captioned at all. So I’ve done some more research about this and it seems like technology plays a part because a lot of those planes and a lot of the
technology that the broadcaster use, they’re quite old-fashioned, which means that they are
not able to provide closed-captions on some of the movies. Which doesn’t really
make sense, because if you can do it for some, why not do it for all. But that’s why I’ve
been hearing a lot, which is kind of frustrating again because there have
been a lot of articles written back in 2012-2013. And even those which are
recently, the past couple of years and they’ve mentioned about the lack of
accessibility for this video and they’re not captioned and there’s even a journal
out there talking about this very topic as well and mentioning the lack of
options available. It just seemed like it’s been talked about for a long time
and we are nowhere near where I think we should be and that’s kind of frustrating
really for me. Because it means that I don’t have the same experiences as
everyone else. Now I get it. I know what you’re thinking. It’s just “who cares, let’s just get on with, it it’s not really that big a deal we can survive” all these things. Of course we can survive without those films on the plane, of course I can. We can get on with it. But that’s not the point. The point is,
first of all I had other options. I did some work on my laptop, I read my book. But then I just wanted to have the option of watching a film. But I didn’t
have that option. Which means that it’s not particularly right if you are paying the
same price that everyone else, and they’re not cheap, but if you’re paying
for the same thing like everyone else but you’re not getting the same experience,
is that correct? And you just have to ask yourself as well, if you’re paying the
same price as everyone else on the plane, in a restaurant…entertainment whatever, anywhere, any you go if you pay the same price, don’t you
think you should be getting the same thing as everyone else. And if you
hear that one or two persons are getting more than the other, more than you, is
that right? And you just have to put it in that perspective as well. On a plane for me,
if I was going on the plane and I want to watch a film and I pay for everything
that is included in the flight, the food, the service, getting to the destination
and the entertainment facilities, I paid for that so I want to have access to
them and I would love to have the option of watching it for them even if I don’t
want to I just want to have the option when I feel like it. But I don’t. So
that’s why I think right now the airline the broadcasters, they all need to catch
up very quickly because it just doesn’t seem like they are anywhere near where
they should be. One thing that obviously I should point
out is that it’s different for the safety video that we see. And it seems
like back in 2009, the US Department of Transport or something like that, they
have made it compulsory that you provide closed-captioned and it needs to be
visible, so for example maybe white font and white text and black background
whatever it is, be visible. So those videos, the safety videos, it is compulsory
to have the captions on them, which makes sense because they are there for safe
reasons. Everyone has to watch them and everyone needs to access them. And imagine if they’re not accessible. It would be ridiculous. So those are compulsory, which makes sense. I get
it. But I think as well as that, why not also look at the overall experience
and how can we improve the in-flight entertainment system better. And all of these
airline that I traveled with, I’ve never ever had a good experience if I want to
use these entertainment systems and I think that need to be changed. And I
think, I’m sure you would agree with me. Let me know what you think. Let me know
in the comment, in description. And let me know in social media, let me know by
email…whatever you want to use, let me know. I’m really really curious to know
and I’d love to know your opinion. And it would be great to hear you again and of
course, I will speak to you again soon another time. Take care! [Relaxed beat music]

3 Comments

  • Jessica White

    I like your use of primary sources in your video. I agree completely that we are paying the same price therefore we should have access to the same content as everyone else.

  • Michele Linder

    Foreign subtitles not extending to the English dialogue is the worst!! I've invested in the foreign film and am following; then someone speaks English and the subtitles go away. There's no coming back from that, so I just turn it off. Sometimes it's so frustrating it makes me cry!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *