The National Federation of the Blind (NFB), the nation's leading advocate for Internet access by blind Americans, today announced an agreement with Travelocity, one of the largest and most popular online travel agencies, to make more accessible to the blind.  

Under today's agreement, Travelocity agrees to make its home page and each initial Web page used on the site accessible by July 1, 2011. This includes searching for flights, hotels, rental cars, vacation packages, and more.

Travelocity says the pages needed to complete the bookings will become accessible to the blind soon after July 1 and plans to have the entire site fully accessible by March 30, 2012.  

"The Internet is a critical means of access to business, education, information, and entertainment in the twenty-first century, and the blind must have equal access if we are to be equal participants in society.  By making its popular online travel agency fully accessible to the blind, Travelocity is setting an example that should be followed by the entire online travel industry,” said Dr. Marc Maurer, President of the NFB.

Maurer said the NFB is pleased to have reached this agreement with Travelocity, and that they will continue to work until the blind have equal access to the full range of products and services available to the public through the Internet and other information technologies.

Nejib Ben-Khedher, CEO of Travelocity, said the company is committed to providing their customers the best service possible, so making the site accessible to everyone, including the blind is “of critical importance.”

“We thank the National Federation of the Blind for their assistance and look forward to continuing to work together to ensure that rapid progress is made in making the Travelocity Web site usable by everyone," said Ben-Khedher.

This development could mean some new job opportunities at

According to the agreement, the site plans to hire an "accessibility coordinator" and an "accessibility committee" as it begins work on creating a program to enhance usability for blind customers.

Additionally, they said they will continue to work with officials of the National Federation of the Blind to ensure that their services remain accessible to the blind.

Travelocity will submit its Web site to the NFB Nonvisual Accessibility (NFB-NVA) Web Certification program, a rigorous procedure by which Web sites and applications that have made efforts to be accessible to the blind can be identified and recognized.  

The NFB-NVA Web Certification program continuously monitors participating sites to ensure that they remain compliant with certification criteria.  

If a site remains accessible, its certification is renewed on an annual or a version basis.  If accessibility issues arise, the National Federation of the Blind will work with the site developers to remedy them.