Blind passengers at Gatwick Airport get visual assistance via mobile phones

Aira app at Gatwick airport

Blind and visually impaired passengers at Gatwick Airport in the UK can now call a professionally trained agent 24 hours a day who will - by using the camera on the passenger’s mobile phone – guide them through the airport, help them read documents or flight information, shop or even find their bag on the luggage carousel.

The free, on demand service can be accessed through the aira app on a smart phone and will help to give blind and visually impaired passengers more independence to move through and enjoy the facilities at the airport.  

The system is being trialled for six months at Gatwick in partnership with the airport’s biggest airline easyJet which is helping to fund the trial to improve accessibility for blind or partially sighted passengers.

Once downloaded onto a mobile phone, the Aira app can help passengers to find specific airport locations such as boarding gates, shops and restaurants – or the airport’s special assistance facilities.

The system can also be used to get the latest information on a passenger’s individual journey plans such as flight information and onward connections or to read menus in restaurants, prices and offers in shops or even help finding baggage on reclaim belts.  

Twelve thousand passengers a year – or 500 a month – notify the airport that they are blind or partially sighted. 

Registered users may also use a specialist glasses (Horizon) which send the view to the agent.