Blind Passengers Sue United Airlines Over Check-In Kiosks

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"United, especially once the merger with Continental is completed, I think it's going to be the largest airline in the country." he said. "It would really set a good example if the largest airline in the country would implement accessible kiosks."

Like May, Thomas said that aside from the kiosks and getting her gate information, she can independently navigate her way around airports.

"I think we've taken a lot of great strides in having information accessible; however, we haven't gotten to where everything is accessible," she said. "That's a slow process because change doesn't happen overnight."

Goldstein, who is not sight impaired but has represented the Federation for more than two decades, said the problem isn't finding technology to assist the blind, but making sure corporations use it.

"Technology should have made it much easier for blind people to compete on an equal basis, get the same education, engage in the same social activities," he said. "But what happens is that technology gets designed or developed without any thought of non-visual access."

"If you're blind today, ironically in some respects, you're going to be more isolated and more dependent than you once were," he said.

May, who was blinded in a chemical explosion at age 3 and was the subject of a 2007 book, "Crashing Through," about the stem cell treatment that partially restored his vision in 2000, said life "light years better in general" for the blind than it was decades ago.

"But some things," he said, "it's two steps forward and one step back."

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