United Airlines is making its planes more accessible for passengers with visual impairment.
The company has started installing Braille placards for seat numbers and bathrooms and will be putting them on every plane in its mainline fleet by 2026, USA Today reported.
Regional jets are not included in the upgrades, The Washington Post reported.
The new additions are part of the airline’s United Next initiative to help make its fleet inclusive. United said it’s the first airline to add Braille to the interior of aircraft, the Post reported. Many airlines do have safety information cards in Braille.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said that about 6 million Americans have vision loss, while 1 million are blind.
“It’s out on 12 planes right now and it’s pretty simple right now. The Braille is right above the seat, we also have it outside and inside of the lavs,” said Chief Customer Officer Linda Jojo, according to USA Today. “We did this from feedback from our own customers, feedback from third parties we’ve worked with.”
Jojo said it’s going to take a long time to make all the additions because the placards are considered aircraft parts, meaning each adjustment has to be approved by the Federal Aviation Administration. She said the company will also be considering feedback from customers and employees.
“We’re going to stick with what we have, see how it works, see what our customers say, see what our employees say and make sure we get it right before we decide to speed it up or not,” Jojo said.
In addition to the Braille signage, the company is expanding and retrofitting its fleet, adding larger overhead bins and more, the Post reported.
The company also updated its app to help screen-reading programs used by visually impaired customers understand the content, CNN reported.
United may also add raised lettering on parts of the aircraft to help people who cannot read Braille, according to The Washington Post.
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