27th November 2009
Leading regional airline one of few approved to offer assistance dog travel
Flybe, one of Europe’s largest regional airlines and the UKs Number One domestic carrier, has now added Exeter to the growing list of UK airports at which it is approved to accept passengers needing to travel with their assistance dogs on travel to and from mainland Europe.
The airline was the first UK low cost carrier to be accepted under the Department for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs (DEFRA)-approved Pet Travel Scheme* earlier this year to carry assistance dogs on European flights to and from Birmingham and Southampton International Airports and currently remains one of only a handful of approved carriers.
The number of passengers requesting this service is increasing rapidly and bookings are already being processed for travel during 2010. Passengers needing to use this lifeline service are required to inform Flybe on booking and need to provide a certificate from the organisation from which they received their assistance dog as well as their dog’s Pet Passport.
Flybe understands the importance of providing support to assistance dog owners and as such, has introduced its own pre-travel procedure as a courtesy to ensure that passengers have all the information they need prior to travel. This also gives travellers an opportunity to identify any possible areas that might prove of concern upon re-entering the country. As an example, the owner’s quality of life and the assistance dog’s future working career would be severely impacted should it have to be quarantined for failing the Pet Travel Scheme checks upon the re-entry checks.
The service has been especially welcomed by the Guide Dogs’ Association that has commented on the fact that assistance dogs provide freedom and independence, especially to their blind and partially sighted owners. Spokesperson Janis Battersby comments: “Guide dogs and their owners are a partnership and it's really important they are able to stay together. Flybe is helping make this possible, resulting in wider travel opportunities for those whose daily lives rely on an assistance dog.”
The Pet Travel Scheme has proved particularly popular for passengers using Flybe services at Southampton International Airport from where Flybe operates some 180 European flights a week. Dave Lees, Operations Director at Southampton Airport, says that ‘this crucial service enables passengers to travel across Europe using their local airport and provides an easy, fast and friendly experience for the passenger and their dog’.
Mike Rutter, Flybe’s Chief Commercial Officer adds: “We’re naturally thrilled that, as the first UK low cost carrier to have qualified under the scheme to carry assistance dogs on European flights, we can now offer this exclusive and essential service from three UK airports that we hope to expand soon into some of our other airports. This important service allows those passengers who could not previously have travelled overseas to do so with their lifeline animals. It is all part of our commitment to offering all our travellers an all-round quality service.”