Minneapolis-Saint Paul International Joins Aira Airport Network to Expand Access to Blind and Low Vision Travelers

January 3rd, 2018

A white Aira logo, airplane icon, and white text on a light blue background. Text: “Making the airport experience liberating for the blind and visually impaired.”

A white Aira logo, airplane icon, and white text on a light blue background. Text: “Making the airport experience liberating for the blind and visually impaired.”

Aira, the world’s fastest-growing assistive technology service for people who are blind or low vision, is pleased to announce that the Minneapolis-Saint Paul International Airport (MSP) has joined the Aira Airport Network. Aira customers who travel through MSP will now be able to access on-demand assistance from a remote Aira agent, free of charge, while at the airport. Joining Memphis International Airport in the network, MSP is embracing the right of blind and visually impaired (BVI) travelers to the same access to visual information as the sighted.

Aira empowers the BVI community to engage, explore and experience the world around them by providing real time visual assistance when and where it is needed. Using a pair of camera-enabled smart glasses and a mobile app, Aira subscribers connect with remote, sighted assistants, who can provide visual descriptions of their surroundings and convey useful information about the environment. At the airport, travelers can use Aira to help navigate security lines, get updates on gate changes or flight delays, or identify bags at baggage claim.

“Over the past few months, the Aira technology has been a great addition to the tools I use during my frequent travels into and out of MSP airport,” said Jennifer Dunnam, a leader in the National Federation of the Blind of Minnesota and a resident of Saint Louis Park. “I can get more information about what’s around me as I head to my gate, including restaurants or shops in the airport that I may not have known about.”

By joining the Aira airport network, MSP has committed to providing complimentary service to Aira subscribers while on site, allowing blind and low vision customers to access the service without using minutes from their existing plan, and with no additional cost to them. Aira was recently recognized by USA Today as a top airport amenity.

“We couldn’t be more excited to add MSP to the Aira Airport Network,” said Kevin Phelan, Vice President at Aira. “Through partnerships like these, we can expand access for people who are blind and low vision, enhance the travel experience, and work toward the goal of completely accessible cities.”

This partnership represents a major step toward MSP’s goal of becoming the most accessible airport in the world. A major addition to the Aira Airport Network, MSP is one the busiest airports in the country, serving more than 37 million travelers on 400,000 flights per year.

“By joining the Aira Airport Network, we are working to ensure that travelers who are blind or low vision are able to take full advantage of all MSP has to offer,” said Brian Ryks, executive director and CEO of the Metropolitan Airports Commission, which owns and operates MSP. “We continue to work closely with businesses and organizations serving people with disabilities to ensure all of our customers have a great experience at MSP.”

Brian Ryks and Greg Stilson each wearing Aira glasses in front of a glass balcony at MSP airport.

About Aira

Aira is AI + AR for the blind. Aira combines the power of Artificial Intelligence and Augmented Reality with wearable technologies, plus the interaction of its network of trained remote human assistants, to provide the 300 million blind and low vision people around the globe immediate access to information and assistance. Aira’s technology not only greatly enhances independence and mobility for those with vision loss, but also forms the basis of its endeavor to create smart cities that are accessible for all. Learn more at aira.io.

About MSP

Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport is the nation’s 16th busiest, serving more than 37 million travelers annually. MSP is Delta Air Lines’ second largest hub and home to Minnesota-based Sun Country Airlines. Sixteen airlines operate at MSP, offering direct service to more than 150 domestic and international destinations.

For media inquiries or to learn more about joining the Aira Airport Network, contact Kevin Phelan, Vice President, Aira. Website: http://go.aira.io/airaairport