(CNN) — Airplanes are often as multicultural as the destinations they’re flying to. And now Delta Air Lines has announced that in addition to spoken languages such as Spanish and Russian, in-flight crew members’ uniforms will now also indicate whether they know a signed language.
Delta’s CEO Ed Bastian released the news via a video shared on his personal LinkedIn page.
“Our mission is to connect the world, which starts with making travel easier for all people,” Bastian wrote in the post, adding: “It’s a small step on our journey, but a powerful change as we seek to make the world a smaller, more inclusive place.”
This news is encouraging to many members of the deaf and hard-of-hearing community.
“We are heartened that it’s becoming more clear to the world that the hundreds of sign languages we have deserve recognition as does any other language,” Chris Soukup, CEO of Communication Service for the Deaf (CSD), tells CNN Travel.
“We still have much work to do in combating biases and misperceptions against deaf and hard of hearing people, who they are, and what they’re capable of achieving, and this move by Delta puts them on the right side of that history.”
According to the World Health Organization, about 466 million people worldwide have a “disabling” level of hearing loss, which comes to about 5% of the global population.
The United Nations has designated September 23 to be the International Day of Sign Languages. This day, first celebrated in 2018, was created in order “to raise awareness of the importance of sign language in the full realization of the human rights of people who are deaf.”
There are an estimated 300 signed languages around the world.
And Delta is not the only brand that has made outreach to this community in the past year. In 2018, Starbucks opened an American Sign Language location in Washington, DC, down the street from Gallaudet University, the world’s only liberal arts university for the deaf and hard of hearing.
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