Blind and visually impaired passengers now get free 24/7 help at Gatwick via mobile phone camera
WEST SUSSEX: Blind and visually impaired passengers at Gatwick Airport can now call a professionally trained agent 24 hours a day who will—by using the camera on the passenger’s mobile phone guide them through the airport, help them read documents or flight information, shop or even find their bag on the luggage carousel.
Gatwick said the free, on demand service can be accessed through the aira app on a smart phone. About 12,000 passengers a year or 500 a month – notify Gatwick Airport they are blind or partially sighted.
The system is being trialed for six months at Gatwick in partnership with the airport’s biggest airline easyJet which is helping to fund the trial to improve accessibility for blind or partially sighted passengers.
The service, however, can be used by passengers flying with any airline at Gatwick.
“This extremely ground-breaking technological breakthrough will allow the partnership between easyJet and Gatwick to demonstrate, for future use across airports here and across the world, just how a simple app and addition to an iPhone or other similar technology can make such a difference,” said Lord David Blunkett, Chair of easyJet’s Special Assistance Advisory Group.
Once downloaded onto a mobile phone, the Aira system is purposely straightforward and simple to use and the trained agents can help passengers find specific airport locations such as boarding
gates, shops and restaurants – or the airport’s special assistance facilities.
“Airports are complex environments and this new system helps to give blind and visually impaired passengers more independence so they can more easily relax and enjoy their time at Gatwick,” said Chris Woodroofe, Chief Operating Officer, Gatwick Airport.