Trainee guide dogs take to the sky

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14/04/2014
Two trainee guide dogs took their first steps to becoming expert leaders at 35,000 feet when they flew from Manchester to London with their handlers. As part of a new agreement between Guide Dogs and Virgin Atlantic, the two canine passengers are now able to travel on Virgin Atlantic's Little Red flights between Manchester and Heathrow. This experience will help the trainee guide dogs to familiarise themselves with the airport environment and become accustomed to flying on a plane. They were also joined by a fully-qualified guide dog experienced in flying.
John Welsman, Guide Dogs’ Transport Policy Officer, said: “We’re delighted to have this agreement in place with Virgin Atlantic. Many of our guide dog owners need to travel by plane regularly either for work or leisure, so the opportunity to prepare a guide dog while it’s in training is invaluable. It gives a guide dog owner extra confidence that their dog will be familiar, relaxed and happy on a flight, which means they can travel on their own terms.”

The new initiative is an important step of guide dog training to help blind or partially sighted owners who wish to travel by air, and Little Red is the first airline to offer the opportunity from Heathrow Airport.

Geraldine Lundy, Passenger Accessibility Manager at Virgin Atlantic said:  “We do everything we can to help make flying accessible for anyone. By enabling trainee guide dogs to take a trip on our Little Red service we’re hoping that more people will feel confident traveling by air with their canine companions.”

For more information on the work of the GDBA visit www.guidedogs.org.uk

Thanks to VNOnline for this story, it was too good not to share!

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