Air Travel when Blind or Visually Impaired

Blind or visually impaired air passengers should, if they will require additional assistance at the airport and on the flight, always inform their travel agent or the airline company they are using. It is suggested that, where possible, passengers give as much notice as possible, so that staff can be made available to help you at the airport. Usually advance notice of at least 48 hours before air travel is required.

Airport staff will, on request, meet you upon arrival and assist in guiding you through check-in, baggage check and customs controls. As many airports are ‘silent’, that is they do not make audible announcements regarding information such as when boarding is about to commence and gate numbers etc, a member of staff will be able to personally inform you when your plane is boarding and any other relevant information, such as delays. There will also be a member of airport staff to help you board the plane and stow any luggage in the overhead lockers.

During the security search of your baggage always request that airport security staff repack your bags in a specific order for you so that you will be able to locate essential items without too many problems.

On the plane, before take off, the cabin crew will give a safety demonstration informing passengers what action to take in emergencies, such as the brace position etc. This information should be available in other formats such as Braille and audio. It is important to request this in advance. Other information that cabin crew will help you with includes the interior layout of the aircraft, the layout of your food tray and the opening of any awkward packaging. Cabin crew will also help you locate the toilet.

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Travelling By Air With An Assistance Dog

When taking your assistance dog on international flights to other European Union countries it is worth considering the Pet Travel Scheme(PETS). This will help you avoid long periods of quarantine when you return to the UK. However, not all airlines operate the scheme,s o check beforehand. Unlike other dogs that fly with PETS, assistance dogs are allowed to travel in the passenger cabin with their owner.

To prepare your dog under the Pet Travel Scheme the dog must be, micro chipped, vaccinated against rabies and have a blood test. In addition your dog must be issued with a pet passport and have treatment for ticks and worms. The order this is needed to be carried out in can vary from country to country, so always check prior to preparing your dog for the flight. As dogs infected with rabies can take 6 months to show physical symptoms of the disease, your dog may not enter or re-enter the UK under PETS until 6 calendar months have passed since a blood sample was taken. It is important that you ensure that the microchip can be read before and after it has been fitted to your dog.

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