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Airport Now Easier to Navigate for Travelers with Hearing Loss

Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport Introduces Visual Paging Services for Deaf and Hard of Hearing Customers

March 3, 2011: Minneapolis-St. Paul:  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, www.mspairport.com.

“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.

Other Services at MSP for Deaf and Hard of Hearing Customers

American Sign Language Interpreting

People whose primary language is American Sign Language (ASL) can now tap into an ASL interpreting service at Terminal 1-Lindbergh from 8 am to 8 pm every day. Located at the Travelers Assistance main desk near the entrance to the C and D concourses, this web-based service offers ASL speakers a way to better communicate their needs and concerns to an airport staff member. Video Remote Interpreting is another name for this type of service.

Public Telephone Video Relay Service
While Text Telephones (TTY) have been available for decades at the airport, this past year, Video Relay Service (VRS) telephones also were introduced. VRS telephones offer a video component so that people who are deaf and who use ASL can either make direct calls to other VRS units or use a telecommunications relay service providing ASL interpreters to make telephone calls to anyone.

For more information about accessibility services at MSP, visit www.mspairport.com/accessibility.aspx.

Source:  Minneapolis-St. Paul Airport

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