United Breaks…Wait, Make That United Brailles Its Cabins

Last Updated on: 18th August 2023, 12:36 pm

Sorry for the mistake. Bit of a reflex, you understand.

I’m actually shocked it’s taken this long for a U.S. based airline to start rolling out in-cabin braille. The Americans with Disabilities Act has been around for more than 30 years and putting braille on things is one of the simpler improvements you can make, so I just kind of took it for granted that everyone was probably doing it by now. But I also haven’t been on an airplane since 1994, so what do I know? In my defence, though, here in Canada, where the disability regulations are a bit of a mess, you can find braille in many of the train cars. That I know for sure, having just taken Via Rail two weeks ago. Not to mention that when I did fly in the States back in the early 90s you could already get access to a big book of brailled flight safety information in English and Spanish on at least some flights, so brailling everything else feels like a next logical step.

But anyway, here we are in 2023, and United is blazing a much appreciated, yet kind of slow ass trail. Thanks, guys.

United today became the first U.S. airline to add Braille to aircraft interiors, helping millions of travelers with visual disabilities more easily navigate the cabin independently. According to the Department of Transportation, about 27 million people with disabilities traveled by air in 2019.
The airline currently has equipped about a dozen aircraft with Braille markings for individual rows and seat numbers as well as inside and outside the lavatories. United expects to outfit its entire mainline fleet with Braille by the end of 2026.

In addition to adding Braille, United is working with the National Federation of the Blind (NFB), the American Council of the Blind (ACB) and other disability advocacy groups to explore the use of other tactile navigational aids throughout the cabin such as raised letters, numbers and arrows.

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