By Keith Laing – 06/05/14 03:16 PM EDT
Sen. Tom Harkin (D-Iowa) wants U.S. airlines to add closed captioning to movies that are shown during long flights in an effort to aid hearing impaired airline passengers.
Harkin said he was considering adding an amendment requiring the airline industry to at least study the proposal to a $54 billion funding bill for the departments of Transportation and Housing and Urban Development during a markup of the measure on Thursday.
“I have been trying for some time to get the airlines to provide closed captions on the movies on their airplanes. I can’t understand why they don’t do it. It doesn’t cost anything,” Harkin said after the Senate Appropriations Committee voted to send the measure to the full of the floor Senate.
Harkin said the idea of close captioning in-flight movies may seem trivial, but he said it was very important to people who are deaf and hard of hearing.
“I have a friend of mine who’s deaf who is a lawyer who travels to Europe [who] likes to watch a movie, can’t,” Harkin said. “The only movie he can watch is a German or a French movie that has English subtitles. But if it’s an American movie, it has French subtitles and German subtitles and Chinese subtitles, but not English subtitles.”