Friday, March 4, 2011

Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport introduces visual paging services for deaf, hard of hearing customers

From Business Wire:

MINNEAPOLIS & ST. PAUL, Minn. -- Travelers at Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport (MSP) now have access to visual as well as audio paging services.

Here’s how it works. When an audio page is made from the airport’s Information and Paging Office, that same message is posted in text form for travelers who are deaf or hard of hearing. Each message paged from the office scrolls across the bottom of the weather screens - co-located with the airport’s flight information displays - and is simultaneously posted to a “paging history” screen located at each of the airport’s information booths. The scrolling messages continue for several minutes, while the historical messages typically stay visible for several hours following the original page.

Within several months these same pages also will be available on the airport’s website,

“While visual paging benefits all our customers, it is particularly important to customers who are deaf or hard of hearing,” said Jeffrey Hamiel, executive director of the Metropolitan Airports Commission. “Our partnership with the Commission of Deaf, DeafBlind and Hard of Hearing Minnesotans has helped tremendously in understanding better the needs of this community. We look forward to continuing our work with them to improve services for all our customers.”

Mary Hartnett, director of the Commission of Deaf, DeafBlind and Hard of Hearing Minnesotans said, “The beauty of MSP’s system is that it benefits all travelers, not only people who are deaf or hard of hearing. We welcome this important added service and look forward to continuing our work with the Metropolitan Airports Commission in making MSP the most accessible airport in America for people with hearing loss.”

An additional option for sending messages to passengers who are deaf or hard of hearing is to request a page specifically for that purpose. When someone requests a page specifically for someone who is deaf or hard of hearing, a prominent message will scroll across the bottom of the CNN television monitors located throughout the airport, primarily in gate hold areas and baggage claim, in addition to the weather and paging history screens.

To request a page at MSP International Airport, call 612-726-5555 from any telephone, including Video Relay Service and TTY units, or, while at the airport, pick up any black courtesy phone, located throughout the terminal buildings, and dial 201.