Subtitles on airline carriers

30 06 2009

I’ve just booked a long-haul holiday and I’m really not looking forward to a long flight with British Arseways where I am unable to watch the screened movies because they won’t subtitle them. A lot of my friends complain about this particular issue, and I do think it’s about time the airline carriers wake up and give people with a hearing loss the equal access to movies we all expect and deserve.

As a hearing person, how would you like to sit through a long flight with the sound turned off on all the movies? When you complain, you’re told, “Oh sorry, we do provide a great service with lots of movies, but we just can’t cater for this”. Raarrrrrr.

Kyle has been through this with British Arseways and has plenty to say, read about his experiences here and here. United Arselines and US Arseways also have a bad rep. Virgin and KLM seem to be providing subtitles.

I think it’s hard for one person to make a difference by complaining. Too many people just put up with bad service and keep quiet. If we ALL complained, don’t you think that might be more effective? You can help by signing this petition to airline carriers to carry subtitles. Not just hot air.

You’ll notice this petition is American – well we’ve gotta start somewhere! The aim is to reach 10,000 petitions and the total at the moment is 1,323 signatures. This petition is also on Facebook at Subtitles on All Airline Carriers with over 5,000 members.

Signing the petition is FREE. There are no sign ups required!
1. Go to the petition
2. Fill out your information
3. Confirm, uncheck the boxes for information (unless you want this), then Submit
3. “Share”, just go to the bottom and click “Skip This”
4. Thank You Page (You’re done!)

INVITE your friends! The more people, the better!

1. Click on “Invite People to Join” button in the right menu.
2. Select all of your friends.
3. Click on the “Send invitation” button.

Fast and Easy!

From the petition “Subtitles on all aircraft carriers”;

Several people within the Deaf Community have brought up the issue that airlines do not put subtitles on TV shows and movies. Deaf and Hard-Of-Hearing people make up a great number of the Airline’s customers. We travel a lot so we should be given the same consideration by the airlines as hearing customers. Is it fair, ethical that we have to sit through our long flights, unable to understand whatever is on while hearing customers are able to enjoy the services to the fullest. We have waited a long time for this change to happen and now it is time to become proactive. Sure the ADA law has taken care of us in some situations, but shouldnt ADA Title III: Public Accommodations apply to this situation also? Why not be heard, Im sure I speak on the behalf of the Deaf and Hard-Of-Hearing community when I say that we would love to have subtitles on all Aircraft Carriers. I welcome not just the United States but the world, people who fly need subtitles, come and sign this petition.



5 responses

30 06 2009

If you ever have to fly to Dubai fly Emirates – they have subtitles on the major films if not all of them!!! You have to scroll about to find them, but they are there – I was totally taken aback when I found them and so thrilled!!!

30 06 2009

I recently flew with Air Canada. They didnt have subtitles for the English or French language films but did have a choice of foreign language movies that did have subtitles.

I emailed them about it and their reply was this

“We can certainly understand your disappointment with the lack of closed captions on our in-flight entertainment. We realize that in-flight
entertainment adds to the overall enjoyment of your flying experience. As such, Air Canada continues to improve the quality and choice of options available. We assure you that we are working, like all other airlines, with our In-flight Entertainment Vendor to develop a solution for this limitation.

Unfortunately, its not just a question of software and hardware technology but also a limitation of the current content that is provided to us by movie studios. While we cannot provide you with a timeline at this time, you may be certain we are committed to providing closed captions as soon as we possibly can.”

1 07 2009

*DO* complain to the airline. When on board, ask nicely for a comment card (remember it’s not the cabin’s crew fault) and fill out the form. On BA, there’s also an entertainment survey form if you’re lucky enough to be on a flight with audio-video on demand (known as AVOD).

For deaf people, start recommending airlines that has a good choice of subtitled films. Someone mentioned Emirates and Virgin. I’ll add Singapore Airlines and Malaysian Airlines – Singapore has almost all movies subtitles.

Air Canada’s response is not correct – they are available, otherwise other airlines wouldn’t be able to provide them. The key for the these airlines is who they buy the movies from, they aren’t straight from the studios as these movies are edited to suit the tiny screens and to remove any grossly offensive stuff from the films. So these are edited at a third-party and it is these people who have control. Who these companies are, I love to know!

Also, not all aircraft within a company are created equal – different models have different entertainment systems, some are still using old style TVs or projection screens, or not audio-video on demand.

If you fly enough that it is an issue, then get on a frequent flyer’s forum such as FlyerTalk, learn the lingo and take part. I know for a fact that airline insiders uses such forums to gather opinions and feedback.

Despite my blog entries regarding British Arseways, I do prefer to fly that airline due to the cabin staff, food and convenience. I still wish they do more subtitling however – it is pot luck and the worst I’ve seen was one movie only subtitled in English, and best, was around 14 movies subtitles (mostly in the foreign language films).

Enjoy your trip and try not to let the lack of entertainment on the flight spoil the rest of the holiday.

23 09 2010

Damn, I’m too late to sign the petition – I wonder if things have improved at all?

24 08 2012
United Airlines, Where are the Captions? « Seita's Place

[…] page, they are only required on safety videos. Consequently, many people have voiced their concerns that airlines are failing to fully accommodate the hearing impaired by not having fully accessible […]

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