Virgin Australia Introduces In-Flight Entertainment UI for Vision-Impaired Passengers

20th Apr 2017

Virgin Australia has become the second airline in the world and the first in Asia-Pacific region to introduce an in-flight entertainment (IFE) user interface for its blind or otherwise vision-impaired passengers.

The IFE was developed by CoKinetic Systems and will be available on VA's Boeing 777-300ER fleet from Australia's east coast to Los Angeles, as well as on its Airbus A330 fleet between Australia's east coast and Perth in the first half of this year.

Tash Tobias, Virgin Australia's general manager for in-flight experience said:

"We are determined to ensure travel with Virgin Australia is enjoyable for all of our guests and we are delighted to introduce this new user interface for guests who are blind or have low vision. Throughout the development process we consulted with disability advocate, Phillip Chalker, to create a system that enables more passengers to enjoy movies, music, audiobooks and TV shows and we thank him for his invaluable assistance. This new technology also allows vision impaired guests to access important flight information such as the time and distance to their destination."

Karen Knight, General Manager for Advocacy and Engagement at Vision Australia, commented:

"We congratulate Phillip on the outcome his advocacy efforts have helped achieve. In addition, we commend Virgin Australia for taking steps to improve the accessibility of their IFE system. Many people who are blind or have low vision enjoy travel and travel widely, and by Virgin Australia continuing to improve the accessibility of its IFE technology guests have the opportunity to enjoy the latest entertainment."

Virgin Australia Operates Canberra to Perth Flights During Parliamentary Sitting Weeks

The airline has also announced that it will operate flights between Canberra and Perth twice per week on Thursdays and Sundays during the Parliamentary sitting weeks.

As of now, flights for August, September, October and December, 2017 sitting weeks are on sale, while the carrier is waiting for the sitting calendar to be released for 2018 before it begins selling tickets for those sitting weeks as well.

In August and September, during the sitting weeks, flights VA590 will take off from Perth at 12:35 and arrive at Canberra at 18:25. The return flight VA589 will depart from Canberra at 19:00 and arrive in Perth at 21:40. These flights will operate on Thursdays and Sundays.

For sitting weeks in October and December, VA590 Thursday flights will depart from Perth at 11:35 and arrive in Canberra at 18:25 and the return flight from Canberra will depart at 19:00 and arrive at the airport in Perth at 20:40 under flight number VA589. Sunday flights will depart from Perth at 12:05 and arrive in Canberra at 18:55, while the return VA589 flight will depart from Canberra at 19:30 and arrive in Perth at 21:10.

The carrier will use Boeing 737s for this service.