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Making a Difference: Tigerair Aiming to Allow Guide Dogs Onboard

Home Search Send to Friend Latest Travel News Asia Friday, 7 November 2014
 

Passengers on a Tigerair flight to Phuket last week might have been surprised to see a dog lying next to a passenger at seat 1E.

 The passenger was Ms Cassandra Chiu, a visually impaired person; and the dog Esme, her guide.

Ms Chius flight together with her guide dog marks a milestone for Tigerair as it works on rolling out a new policy allowing visually impaired persons to travel onboard with their guide dogs.

Subject to approval from relevant authorities, the introduction of this new policy will be a culmination of Tigerairs effort to improve the flight experience of persons with special requirements.

Ms Chiu said, Being able to travel with my dog guide means the world to me, locating my hotel room and keeping me safe especially when I am in an unfamiliar environment allows me to continue to be independent and confident when I  am travelling on work and pleasure.

Apart from with working with the Guide Dogs Association of the Blind on the trial flight, the airline had also invited the Singapore Association of the Visually Handicapped and the Singapore Association of the Deaf to train its cabin crew earlier this year on ways to better assist passengers with visual and hearing impairments.

Ho Yuen Sang, COO of Tigerair, said, Allowing guide dogs onboard Tigerair flights would be in line with our care and concern for customers requiring special assistance. We hope to enhance the mobility of visually impaired passengers and empower them to access more destinations served by Tigerair. We will continue to take proactive steps to improve our capabilities to assist customers with special needs. We would like to thank the Civil Aviation Authority of Singapore for supporting this trial flight.

Quarantine

Typically for most countries, guide dogs are put into home quarantine when they are imported or coming home from another country. It is the blind handler who undertakes to keep the guide dog away from other animals.

Ms Chiu said, For countries like Singapore and Australia, there is no cost to import / export a guide dog. In Thailand there is a small cost of 150 Baht to do so. Guide dogs being imported / exported also need to meet veterinary requirements of the different countries. This would mean different vaccinations required and corresponding blood tests to prove the vaccination has been administered and successful. Dependent on the requirements of the country, this may cost about Sin$200-600. Also for a country like Australia, if a guide dog had visited a country that is not rabies free (such as Thailand for example) it would need to wait 180 days before import into Australia.

See other recent news regarding: Interviews, Pictures, Videos, Making a Difference, Tigerair, Phuket, Changi, Singapore, Dogs, Guide Dogs

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