Emirates Airline adapts in-flight entertainment for visually impaired travelers

Emirates is adapting part of its in-flight entertainment offering to accommodate visually impaired...

Emirates is adapting part of its in-flight entertainment offering to accommodate visually impaired travellers. (All rights reserved)


, Last Updated: 7:00 AM ET

In an industry first, the Dubai-based carrier is introducing an audio description option on part of its in-flight entertainment programming, opening up the content to visually impaired passengers.

Travelers who are blind or visually impaired can now take advantage of audio description to follow 16 features, all from Disney, including "Frozen," "Saving Mr. Banks," "Cars 2," "Monsters University," "The Avengers," "Toy Story 3" and all four "Pirates of the Caribbean" films. The selection will be expanded in the future, according to Emirates.

The audio description function allows visually impaired audiences to follow the action thanks to voice narration describing the action in scenes without dialogue. The technique, which does not cut out the movie's original soundtrack, is being increasingly used to bring film and TV productions to the blind and visually impaired.

In 2007, Emirates teamed with Disney to adapt a selection of films with closed captions, the extra subtitles that describe the film's non-verbal sounds for the hard of hearing. Five years after the launch of the program, no less than 50 films had already been adapted for these viewers.

In the latest edition of the Skytrax World Airline Awards, which are regarded as the Oscars of the industry, Emirates earned the honors for "best in-flight entertainment system" for the 10th consecutive year.

Dubbed the ICE Digital Widescreen, the airline's system lets passengers choose between 1,800 entertainment channels, around 400 international films, hundreds of hours of TV shows and over a thousand hours of music across virtually all genres.