There’s nothing like being able to watch a movie and relax while on a flight, and with recent technology updates, now blind and visually impaired passengers can learn how to watch audio described movies while on their next flight. I recently discovered this while on my way to the Grace Hopper Celebration (read more about the Grace Hopper Celebration here) and I was really excited to finally watch a movie that all of my friends had been talking about- Black Panther! Here is how to watch audio described movies on your next flight.
First, what is audio description?
Audio description, sometimes referred to as descriptive audio, is an additional narration track that describes visual information for the blind and visually impaired. It can be used for movies, TV shows, plays, museums, dance performances, and many other different places where having information about visual cues can be highly beneficial. Read more about fast facts on audio description here.
Download the airline’s app
Many planes, especially regional ones, require that users download their app in order to access in-flight entertainment such as movies and TV shows and then connect to a free wifi network once on the plane. Information on whether in-flight entertainment is available can be found in the amenities section on the flight information page.
Using the touch screen on the plane
Some planes feature touch screens built into the seats so that users can browse entertainment without needing to balance their device. However, none of the touch screens feature screen readers, so people needing audio description will have to ask for assistance to locate audio described videos on those touch screens. Users can still use their own device with a screen reader if they prefer- read more about the VoiceOver screen reader for iOS here.
Each airline has a different way of showing which movies have audio description. Some airlines hide this information, so it may be worth searching this information prior to your flight.
United’s selection of audio described movies can be found by going to accessibility and selecting the AD option. Read more about what titles are available on United here.
American Airlines is a bit more tricky since they consider audio description to be a language option. I found the list of titles available by running a web search for “American Airlines English Audio Descriptive.” I would bookmark which movies I was interested in prior to going on my flight since users can’t search by language
KLM Royal Dutch Airlines
KLM recently started offering movies with audio description on their flights. While I can’t figure out how to search for movies with audio description, users can figure out if a selected title has audio description or not by checking the “accessibility” section under the particular movie title. Read more on the KLM Entertainment website here.
According to a Delta representative I spoke to on Twitter, audio description is available for select in-flight entertainment options but no clarification was given on how to do this and no information was available on their website either. I will update this post when I receive more information.
British Airways has a great selection of movies with audio description, and I appreciate how easy it was to find which movies had it. Read more about available titles on the British Airways website here.
Emirates was the first airline to offer movies with audio description in 2014, which is really awesome. To find movies with audio description, click on the “Movies With Audio Description” link on the Emirates entertainment website here.
Like American Airlines, Lufthansa offers audio description by writing “English Audio Descriptive” in the language bar. Read more about Luftansa’s entertainment website here.
If you need additional assistance, I recommend reaching out to customer support prior to the flight- everyone I talked to while researching this post was able to help me quickly and easily. If you’re already on the plane, the flight attendants may be able to provide some assistance, but may not be trained in how to work the in-flight entertainment devices.
I love being able to watch movies while I’m on a plane, and I was excited to learn that many airlines are now supporting audio description. With these tips, it’s easy to learn how to watch audio described movies on your next flight, wherever that may be.