easyJet, Europe’s leading airline, welcomed its first member of its ‘furry flight club’ yesterday, with guide dog Joey reaching the milestone of 35 flights with easyJet alongside his owner Jan Gibson. Joey, Jan and husband Roger, mainly take flights between London Luton and Paphos, Cyprus. Joey, a Labrador, will be seven next month and has been with Jan for five years. He is her fifth guide dog.
Much like easyJet’s ‘flight club’ loyalty scheme for its most frequent flyers, furry flight club will focus on rewards which are most appreciated by the airline’s most loyal four-legged friends – doggie treats.
Easyjet carries hundreds of passengers with an assistance dog each year. In 2012 easyJet established a committee of European experts (ESAAG – the easyJet Special Assistance Advisory Group) to provide guidance and advice to the airline on the services it provides to passengers who require special assistance. The group is chaired by Lord David Blunkett and is made up of experts in disability issues and accessible travel. It meets regularly with easyJet managers to discuss the company’s proposals, best practice and emerging issues.
Jan Gibson, Joey’s owner, commented:
“All our flights have been with easyJet and we have always been made to feel welcome on board. As this is Joey’s 35th flight, some of the crew have travelled with us on more than one occasion so we feel like family. The crew and passengers often fuss Joey and take photos as it’s not often you get to see a dog on a plane. Joey even gave a Captain a lovely ‘kiss’ while a ‘selfie’ was being taken, and he has been in the cockpit when the aircraft was on the ground.
“Joey enjoys flying, and will usually sleep at my feet through most of the flight, although does go for a walk half way through. I give him a chew after take-off to help his ears equalise the pressure, similar to us having a sweet, and also when we are on final descent.