Most cinemas, especially the more modern multi-screen types, provide good facilities for disabled people.
Details of facilities are normally found on their website under ‘Access’ or ‘Disabled customers’ or similar.
Many cinemas run schemes that include passes for disabled customers.
If you have a carer or someone to support you on a daily basis, some cinemas offer reduced, or free admission, to them.
Service providers – anyone who provides a service directly to the general public – includes cinemas. They have responsibilities under the Disability Discrimination Act, for example, in allowing support or assistance dogs or providing an area in the cinema for wheelchair users.
Blind and visually-impaired customers
Many cinemas offer, and more and more films contain, audio description.
This is a service where the action, scene changes and the actors’ body language is described in addition to the dialogue. You listen to the commentary through a lightweight headset.
Make sure that you reserve this when making your booking. Cinemas will be able to let you know when they screen films with audio description. Some cinemas have the system for all their screens which means that every screening of a film can be audio-described.
Some cinemas may have the layout of the cinema complex in Braille as well as other information. Programme times are available as a recorded message over the telephone.
Deaf and hearing-impaired customers
Most cinemas have induction loops – either infra-red, induction or both.
An induction loop is a system that helps you hear more clearly by reducing background noise.
In a cinema, a loop can help you hear the film more clearly. Induction loops cannot be used to give stereo sound – but infrared systems can.
Make sure that you check whether the cinema has this facility when you book.
Since 1 October 2004, cinemas are required by the law to make sure that the induction loop or infrared system is in working order and that staff know how to use it.
Support and assistance dogs
If you have an assistance or support dog, contact the cinema book in advance so that they can allocate the most appropriate seating for you.
Physically or mobility-impaired customers
If you are a wheelchair user or have restricted mobility, contact the cinema in advance to check their facilities. Cinemas must provide an area for wheelchair users.
If you need a wheelchair once you arrive at the cinema, contact the cinema beforehand.
Since 1 October 2004, cinemas are required by the law to make sure they are accessible which includes, for example, having accessible toilets and seating.