Accessible Assistive Technology Resources Bridges Blog Series: Jumping Into January 2023

Changes to AIRA’s On-Demand Visual Interpretation Services

Jumping Into January, Part 5

2022 is over, and it’s time to jump into 2023! Join us as we explore revamped and new resources to help you on your Transition journey – through school and beyond!

In this fifth installment of our “Jumping Into January” series, you address changes in the Aira visual interpretation services that so many blind/low vision individuals find useful.

About Aira

What is Aira?

Aira is a service where you can call an agent in real-time to assist you with tasks in which visual information might be helpful. Agents have undergone rigorous training and have been through various clearances and background checks so that you can feel confident that your information and privacy will be protected throughout all Aira calls.

How Do I Use Aira?

Using the camera on your phone, the agent can provide you with information about your environment or answer visual questions for you at your request.

How Can Aira Help Me in School or on the Job?

Aira has a number of great uses, including but certainly not limited to:

  • Being a reader for menus, books, important documents, and written signs in your surroundings
  • Providing assistance with navigating or getting information from inaccessible websites (we recommend downloading Team Viewer to your computer for this purpose)
  • Assistance with taking photos, formatting documents, and so much more!

Changes in Aira

Aira is a great service, but it is also a private business. As a private business, Aira must, at minimum, cover its costs, including labor, support staff, technology, and marketing.

Prior to 2023, Aira’s pricing model had not changed for five years. This was great for all involved, but it does tend to make the current price and service changes more intense for users.

Aira offers paid plans for subscribers, and it still offers free services to people who have never subscribed. In this post, we will refer to individuals with paid plans as “subscribers” and to individuals without paid plans as “non-subscribers.”

Free Minutes

Aira has curtailed several of its “Free minute” opportunities. There’s no real point of discussing offers that are no longer available, so we set forth, below, current opportunities to use Aira services at no cost.

  • Aira Access
    • Offers some level of free Aira service to both subscribers and non-subscribers
      • Example: Up to 30 minutes at Starbucks (in store, on the app, or online)
      • Includes certain other retails, software companies, airlines, banks, colleges, and more
      • Sometimes offered as a “pop-up” location for a special event
    • Locations
      • List of Aira Access partners as of March 2022
      • Find more on the Aira app
        • First, must download and install the Aira app (it’s free)
        • On the “Home” page, select “Apply a free Access offer”
        • Choose from the listed categories (currently “Promotions, Products, and Locations”
  • Task-specific free AIRA minutes
    • Demo: teaching a friend to use Aira; up to 10 minutes at a time
    • Job Seeker: up to 30 minutes every 24 hours for job-seeking tasks
  • Free minutes for anything
    • Non-subscribers: One call of up to five (5) minutes every 48 hours (two days)
    • Subscribers: One call of up to five (5) minutes every 12 hours
  • Getting Started with Aira
    • One-time, up to sixty minutes within a seven-day period

Paid Plans

NEW features

  • Sharing Minutes: Under this new pricing model, subscribers may now share minutes with others. Sharing is not required, but it is available on all but the lowest plan.
  • Rollover Minutes: No. Aira subscribers were permitted to apply unused minutes from one month to use in the next month (rollover). However, Aira no longer offers rollover minutes. Any minutes that are left unused at the end of a month go away forever.

Pricing Plans

  • Aira’s new pricing plan has many components. There are three plan types (Silver, Gold, and Platinum), and there are three levels (1, 2, and 3) for each plan type.
  • As one moves up (Silver 1 to Silver 2 AND Silver 3 to Gold 1), the number of minutes provided and the prices for each plan increase.
  • Plan types offer different levels of sharing minutes:
    • Silver 1: Sharing not permitted
    • Silver 2 and 3: Up to two (2) total members may share a plan
    • Gold (all 3 levels): Up to three (3) total members may share a plan
    • Platinum (all 3 levels): Up to five (5) total members may share a plan
  • Price range:
    • Silver, Level 1: 15 minutes for $65
    • Platinum, Level 3: 800 minutes for $2,900
  • Purchased minutes
    • These are available for purchase anytime you find that you need additional minutes.
    • Like all Aira minutes, these may not be rolled over for use in future months.
    • Prices:
      • 25 minutes are $100.00
      • 50 minutes are $190.00
      • 100 minutes are $365.00  

Find more details at Aira’s 2023 Plans and Prices website.

Aira Offset/Affordable Personal Plan

Aira now offers an “Affordable Personal Plan,” also called the “Aira Offset.”

  • This plan provides individuals a discount from the price plan rate. The discount is 60% off of the retail price for each plan.
  • This is only available to individuals; schools, agencies, and employers are not eligible for this discount.
  • From Aira: “Our goal is to reduce the cost of our service for individual people, not enterprises. We are not asking for any proof nor do we require any documentation. Aira will grant the offset based on your request alone. Simply by contacting Customer Care and answering several questions, you will be eligible.”
  • This discount only applies to monthly plans; the additional purchased minutes are not discounted.
  • Discounted price range for individuals:
    • Silver, Level 1: 15 minutes for $26
    • Platinum, Level 3: 800 minutes for $1,160

Find more details on Aira’s 2023 Plans and Prices for Individuals web page.

Contact us

Follow the Bridges Helpdesk Facebook page for more transition tips, and please contact the Bridge’s Technical Assistance Center’s Free Helpdesk for Maryland Blind/Low Vision Transition Students, Families, and Educators anytime using:

This unique project is being coordinated through The IMAGE Center of Maryland, a center for independent living in Towson, and it is funded by a grant from the Maryland Department of Education Division of Special Education/Early Intervention Services.

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