By Andrea Romano
September 19, 2019

The best flight attendants have a magical way of making passengers feel totally welcome, and one passenger on a Delta flight from Baltimore, Maryland to Rochester, New York, experienced this first-hand.

Ashley Ober, a 16-year-old who was born deaf, was flying from Baltimore/Washington International Airport to Rochester back in July, with a stop at John F. Kennedy International Airport, according to WKYT.

Her mother, Loretta Ober, dropped her off at the airport for her flight. Ashley told WKYT that it was most important to her that she make this trip on her own. Not having been to the major New York City airport before, Ober was understandably nervous.

“What if I miss my flight or I don’t know where to go if I transfer,” Ashley said to WKYT. “I mean JFK is such a big airport, so I didn’t know where to go.”

Anyone who has been on a flight before has probably taken for granted how much we rely on sound to interact with the flight crew or to get basic information. Not only are in-flight announcements almost entirely auditory, any other notifications, like the chimes to alert you to put on your seatbelt, may go unnoticed by someone who has hearing loss (especially if they aren’t in the habit of staring at the ceiling during the flight to make sure the seatbelt sign isn’t lit).

Robert Nickelsberg/Getty Images

The Delta flight attendant on Ashley’s flight wasn’t about to let her go without the pertinent information she needed, however. According to WKYT, the flight attendant handed Ashley a note that had all of the information she needed for a safe and pleasant flight.

Ashley texted a picture of the note to her mother, who shared it on Twitter.

“Deaf people can do anything,” Ashley told WJLA. “Communication is most important. Communication access is most important, to try to make any effort for deaf people, to make them comfortable instead of making them feel afraid.”

A Delta spokesperson said in a statement to WJLA, “We are extremely proud of the thoughtful approach this Endeavor Air flight attendant took to make the customer feel welcome. Our goal is to make the world a more inclusive place, ensuring travel is easy for all people.”

In addition, the airline will be giving employees the option to wear a special button that tells travelers they are fluent in many different languages, including American Sign Language, in the next few months in order to better serve all customers, according to WJLA.

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