blind or low vision travelers

More airports adding free service to aid blind, low vision travelers.

Courtesy AIRA

There’s a growing list of airports offering passengers free access to an augmented reality service that provides greater mobility and independence to blind passengers and those with low vision.

Some theme parks and all the museums in Washington, D.C. that are part of the Smithsonian Institution are doing it too.

How it works: off-site eyes

San Diego-based Aira offers a paid “OnStar” style subscription service that works with smart glasses and/or smartphone software. The service lets users connect (via a tap or a voice command) to remote live agents who use the cameras on the glasses or a smartphone to see what’s around the user and offer guidance.

Many airports, along with theme parks and museums and other sites, are offering the service as a free amenity to all travelers who might want to use it.

The first airport to offer free Aira to passengers was Memphis International Airport, back in 2017.

Since then, more than two dozen of airports in the United States – and beyond – including London Heathrow, Seattle-Tacoma International, Minneapolis-St. Paul and Houston’s Hobby and Georgy Bush International Airport have decided to offer the service free for travelers as well.

Among those joining the list most recently: Los Angeles International Airport, JFK Terminal 4 and, in Australia – Sydney Airport.