Call this a good sign: hearing-impaired travellers can now identify Delta Air Lines employees who can communicate in sign language with a quick glance at their nametag.
WebMD reports that Delta employees will wear a special nametag if they can communicate in any of the more than 300 types of sign language used worldwide.
The policy change is in the wake of several incidents involving deaf passengers, including a confrontation with airline employees in Detroit and a case where a deaf man said he was greeted at the gate by an agent with a wheelchair.
Virgin Atlantic uses a different approach, giving hearing-impaired passengers a special pin they can wear to identify themselves to airline employees, and similarly marking their boarding passes.
Other airlines provide special customer service phone lines for communicating with hearing impaired passengers via TDD.
Several US airports also have installed special technology that allows public address announcements to be transmitted directly to travellers’ hearing aids.
“It is our hope airlines will continue to make concrete changes and develop inclusive resources to improve the experiences of deaf and hard-of-hearing travellers,” said Zainab Alkebsi, a spokesperson for the National Association for the Deaf.