Latest Air NZ safety video 'not sufficient' for blind passenger safety - advocate

A blindness advocacy organisation says that Air New Zealand's latest safety video alone is not up to the task of keeping all blind passengers safe.

The Kiwi airline's newest safety briefing is a '90s rap featuring a variety of local talent, but national organisation Blind Citizens NZ president Dr Jonathan Godfrey says Air New Zealand has chosen a challenging medium to convey important safety information.

"It's hard to filter out the safety information from the entertainment," he says.

"The words aren't enunciated clearly, so the reliance on the visual cues at the same time is what makes it effective. Obviously, blind people can't rely on those visual cues to make sense of what could be strange terminology to a novice traveller."

Dr Godfrey says the problem is compounded if the blind person is also hard of hearing.

"There's a lot of other audio in the background. It's a busy medium."

Air NZ did not comment directly on whether it is taking steps to make future safety videos more accessible to blind and vision-impaired travellers, but said individual safety briefings were important.

"Safety is paramount and non-negotiable at Air New Zealand and we make every effort to provide a consistently safe and comfortable travel experience for all customers, including those who are blind or vision impaired," a company spokesperson said.

"This includes a personal safety briefing given to blind and vision impaired customers who make their circumstances known to us, either prior to or at the time of travel."

Latest Air NZ safety video 'not sufficient' for blind passenger safety - advocate
Photo credit: Air New Zealand.

Dr Godfrey agrees that such briefings are important, but notes that blind and vision impaired passengers are not required to point out their impairment to the crew.

"If a blind passenger is to feel safe on board, they need to have had access to all the safety information, just like any other passenger.

"How we get that information will vary from person to person, but the rap audio alone is not sufficient."

What are your thoughts about the video? Join the discussion on our Facebook Travel Group.

Dr Godfrey concludes: "The passenger's safety is more important than any entertainment factor within the briefing."

The rap, entitled 'It's Kiwi Safety', stars Kiwi performers including the Mosgiel Brass Band, transgender rapper Randa and Hunt for the Wilderpeople actor Julian Dennison.

Shot over nine days in centres from Auckland to central Otago, the video also features Auckland hip-hop artist Kings and singer Theia.