Sea-Tac Airport launches assistive technology for blind and low vision passengers

Sea-Tac Airport ticketing area
Sea-Tac and Aira are helping blind and low vision passengers get round the airport a liitle easier

The Port of Seattle is launching a new pilot program to help people who are blind and low vision access a new assistive technology to safely and independently use Seattle-Tacoma International Airport.

Partnering with Aira (pronounced EYE-rah), Sea-Tac will be the first airport on the west coast and among the first airports in the nation to join the Aira Airport Network, and use this wearable smart glasses technology.

The Port announced a pilot program that will cover the cost for any passengers using the Aira service which connects people who are blind and low vision to certified, live agents via smart glasses and a mobile app to navigate every step of the airport, from the curb and check-in area all the way to the gate.

The technology uses smart glasses and a mobile app to seamlessly connect the user to a live, human agent that can see the environment around the user in real-time. Agents then serve as visual interpreters to accomplish a variety of tasks in the airport – from viewing a flight information board to finding the queue line at a security checkpoint to verifying their luggage at a baggage carousel.

Aira is a subscription service that includes a mobile app, a pair of smart glasses, AT&T data, and by-the-minute access to live, human agents for a monthly fee. By providing complimentary Aira service, Sea-Tac Airport will cover the cost of all minutes used by Aira Explorers while they visit the airport.

Sea-Tac Airport is one of the busiest in the nation, servicing more than 45 million passengers per year. With more than 20 million individuals who are blind or low vision living in the United States, and more than 285 million worldwide, this program is poised to have a major impact on these flyers as they travel to or from the Pacific Northwest.

N.B. Image credit: portseattle.org

Internet links

Seattle-Tacoma International Airport (SEA)

Aira Airport Network