Travel Tips for d/Deaf or
Hard of Hearing Travelers
When you have hearing loss, the hustle and bustle of traveling by air, train, bus or ship can seem daunting. But with a little advance planning, you can keep everything running smoothly.
If you are d/Deaf or hard of hearing and will require assistance at the airport it is recommended that you inform Alternative Airlines (via the notes section when booking, online chat, Whatsapp, or email),or the airline you are travelling with as soon as you can, so that they may make the necessary staffing arrangements. It is best, if at all possible, to give them at least 48 hours notice.
Be Clear About What You Need
Not everyone has the same needs, so airport and airline staff shouldn’t assume anything. Ask about what is provided, tell about what you need, and be clear about this.
Know Where You Can Get Assistance
For many airlines, assistance can be arranged to help you at check-in, custom controls and baggage check.
You should also be able to request that a member of staff informs you personally as soon as information is announced regarding your flight. The majority of public address systems at airports should include induction loop facilities, which will amplify the sound when you use the 'T' switch on your hearing aid.
Many airports will have text telephones and public telephones fitted with induction loops should be available.
Flying With an Assistance Animal?
You can find out more about flying with an assistance animal on our Flying with Special Service Animals page.
Before booking your flight ticket you should always check the airline's policy on carrying assistance animals.
Make sure to sign up for text or email alerts for your airline, so you won’t miss important announcements about delays or cancellations.
Use the Airline's App
Aside from flight display boards, using the airlines’ mobile app is the best bet for staying up-to-date on important information.
Flight display boards aside, your best is by using the airlines’ mobile apps. These tend to be pretty user friendly and will notify you the moment there is a change to your flight — often even before the gate agent makes an announcement about it.
When in Doubt, Bring Things Along
Consider bringing your equipment for drying and storage, especially if you are travelling to humid climates. If you're traveling internationally, don’t forget a voltage converter. Make sure to pack hearing-aid supplies such as tubing and batteries in your carry-on.
A quick and easy way to ‘talk’ in noisy environments
Having a pen and a pad of paper, or notepad app on your smartphone can help with communication in hectic or loud situations.
Hearing equipment can be kept on when passing through metal detectors, body scanners and such, but it is advised that you notify a security officer. You can do this discreetly before screening begins by carrying a notification card.
Make Use of Preboarding
Preboarding can be really handy for passengers with additional needs - you’ll typically be one of the first on the plane, which will give you plenty of time to communicate with the flight attendants and verify your preferred communication method. Plus, you also won’t need to worry about finding space for your bag in the overhead bins!
If you’re travelling alone, make sure to let the gate staff, flight attendants and your seat partner(s) know that you have hearing loss so they will alert you about any announcements.
On the Plane
When you’re on the plane, make sure to inform the appropriate service personnel of your needs, so they will make an extra effort to reach you in an emergency.
In Flight Entertainment
Closed captioning (CC) for in-flight entertainment is an absolute dream, but it isn’t always consistently offered.
In the US, The US Department of Transportation recently mandated the following:
As a covered carrier, you must ensure that any IFE system installed on a newly delivered aircraft and any newly-installed IFE system on an existing aircraft is capable of supporting closed captions in either fixed image (e.g., bitmap format) or as user-customizable text after the effective date of the final rule. As a covered carrier, you must also ensure the IFE system offered on a newly delivered aircraft and any newly-installed IFE system on an existing aircraft is capable of conveying audio description for content that are audiodescribed.
Source: US Department of Transportation, accessed 22/08/2019
After Your Flight
Airlines’ mobile apps and text alerts will typically provide you with important arrival information like gate and baggage carousel numbers. If you are connecting on to another flight, you can ask ground crew if someone can accompany you to your next gate. Don’t feel held back from asking for help from airline and ground staff as and when needed.
Note: It’s always sensible to contact the Alternative Airlines customer service team to discuss your specific needs - we’re available via online chat, email, Whatsapp, and via social media.