Dear British Airways,
On Thursday 14th April, I had to fly with you to New York, after a week of having the flu + laryngitis.
I’m partially deaf, and was feeling pretty scared about doing damage to my remaining good ear by getting on a plane.
So when I arrived at Heathrow, I went to the BA desk to ask about postponing my flight until tomorrow.
That way I could get one solid night’s sleep before flying, and hopefully feel healthy enough to fly.
Of all the desks in all the airports, I walk into the one with the partially deaf customer service agent.
An amazing lady called Lisa Deeks told me all about her own deafness, and we spent 20 minutes sharing our weird balance and hearing issues and the idiosyncrasies of having an invisible disability.
Our experiences were so similar, and so personal, that we both got a bit tearful as we spoke, though we were beaming all the time.
She recommended techniques I could use to fly safely and look after my ear (given that changing the flight would have cost thousands), and at the end of our encounter she came out from behind her desk to hug me.
What a wonderful human.
Lisa made me feel cared for, hopeful and safe, and made a scary flight a healthy one.
Please will you thank Lisa hugely for me, and tell her what an extraordinary woman she is?
That conversation (and much-needed hug) was the last thing I was expecting, and the best possible remedy.
PS — when I got to the gate, my seat had been quietly upgraded. I don’t know how or why that happened, but those hours of comfortable sleep were invaluable. Happily, I arrived in New York with ear unscathed.
The Limping Chicken is the UK’s deaf blogs and news website, and is the world’s most popular deaf blog. It is edited by Deaf journalist and filmmaker Charlie Swinbourne.
Please note that the views of the writers are their own, and not necessarily the views of the Editor or site as a whole. Read our disclaimer here.
- Ai-Media: Remote captioning. How to turn on captions on your smartphone
- Bellman & Symfon: home alerting solutions
- Deaf Umbrella: sign language interpreting and communications support
- Appa: Communication services for Deaf, Deafblind and hard of hearing people
- Signature: Find out about the Signature conference here.
- SignVideo: Instant BSL video interpreting online
- 121 Captions: captioning and speech-to-text services
- Hearing Direct: Online hearing aids
- The National Theatre: Captioned and BSL accessible theatre in London
- Doncaster School for the Deaf: education for Deaf children
- SignLive: Online video interpreting for Deaf people
- Royal Shakespeare Company: Captioned and BSL interpreted performances (see dates here)
- Royal School for the Deaf, Derby: Residential education for deaf children
- RAD Tax Advice: Tax and Tax Credit info for Deaf people
- Deaf Independent: Deaf care and support services
- Signworld: online BSL learning and teaching materials
- Performance Interpreting: BSL interpreting at concerts
- National Deaf Children's Society: The leading charity for deaf children
- DCAL: Find out how to study at the Deafness Cognition and Language Research Centre, London
- cSeeker: Deaf-led educational communication support service
- Signed Culture: Advocating for BSL access to arts and culture
- SignHealth: healthcare charity for Deaf people
- CJ Interpreting: communication support in BSL
- Sign Solutions:, language and learning
- Action Deafness Communications: sign language and Red Dot online video interpreting
- BSLcourses.co.uk: Provider of online BSL courses
- British Society for Mental Health and Deafness: Promoting positive mental health for deaf people
- deafPLUS: Money advice line in BSL
- Hamilton Lodge School in Brighton: education for Deaf children
- Lipspeaker UK: specialist lipspeaking support
- Ozen: Australian hearing aid specialists
- Elmfield School, Bristol: Inclusive education for Deaf pupils
- Exeter Deaf Academy: education for Deaf children