accessible IFE

Virgin Atlantic teamed up with Bluebox Aviation Systems and The Guide Dogs for the Blind Association to develop an accessible IFE platform (aIFE) for the airline’s visually impaired passengers. Image via Virgin Atlantic

APEX Insight: In the latest episode of APEX Insider, Virgin Atlantic’s passenger accessibility manager, Geraldine Lundy, and Flying Disabled founder Chris Wood discuss how airlines are missing out on a massive market by not accommodating more passengers with disabilities, especially those confined to wheelchairs.

In this edition of APEX Insider, Flying Disabled founder Chris Wood suggests that disabled passengers with disposable income – a market set to grow as a result of the world’s aging population – prefer to travel by land or sea rather than to fly because airlines require them to check their wheelchairs.

Geraldine Lundy, Virgin Atlantic’s passenger accessibility manager, says, “When I look at the number of people with a disability who are flying, either through an airport or with an airline, if you think there’s about 15–20% of the customer population with a disability, you only have about 2% of those who fly … That’s a huge amount of money that businesses are missing out on.”

The interviewees go on to discuss the reasons why this is the case, how legislation shouldn’t have to be the trigger for change and what suppliers like Bluebox Aviation Systems are doing to lead the way in improving the passenger experience for customers with disabilities. The APEX member won a Crystal Cabin Award last month for  Bluebox aIFE, an accessible IFE platform for visually impaired passengers that launched on Virgin Atlantic flights in November 2017.

APEX Insider is made possible by the support of Global Eagle.