Guide dog Joey is easyJet’s most frequent flying dog taking his 35th easyJet flight with his owner Jan Gibson
easyJet, Europe’s leading airline, welcomed its first member of its ‘furry flight club’ yesterdat, 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.
Peter Duffy, easyJet’s Group Director, Customer and Marketing, commented:
We are delighted to welcome Joey as the first member of our ‘furry flight club’. With 35 flights under his collar, he must be one of the most travelled dogs in the country and we are really pleased Joey, Jan and Roger have chosen to fly with us again and again.
A record number of passengers travelled with easyJet in 2016 to a range of destinations across Europe including passengers who required some form of assistance and this number continues to grow. Passengers who need some extra help should feel confident to travel with us as there is a range of assistance available and we always recommend they get in touch ahead of travel with our special assistance team to ensure we have everything they require in place for their trip.
Lord David Blunkett, chair of easyJet Special Assistance Advisory Group, commented:
We always seek to improve the travel experience for all passengers, including people travelling with assistance dogs. So we are very pleased that Joey and his owners Jan and Roger are able to regularly fly with easyJet. I hope this also reassures other people with assistance dogs that they can travel too.
In addition to carrying guide dogs onboard, easyJet has a range of measures for passengers who require special assistance including a customer contact centre team who are fully-trained in special assistance issues as well as on-board wheelchairs on all aircraft. Additionally, easyJet crew and its ground agents are trained on special assistance, including how to identify and support passengers with ‘hidden disabilities’. The customer satisfaction amongst easyJet passengers with reduced mobility was 84% in the 2016 financial year, which was higher than for customers in general.
easyJet has reviewed all stages in its passengers’ journey to ensure that it is as easy as possible and the airline has invested significantly in providing assistance for all needs and in the training of its crew and ground operations staff who provide special assistance to our passengers. Details on assistance available can be viewed at http://www.easyjet.com/en/help/preparing-to-fly/special-assistance
ESAAG is seeking to improve the whole journey, in the airport and on the aircraft, for passengers who need special assistance. As a proof of a lasting commitment, the ESAAG launched in April 2015 its Pan-European Charter on Meeting the Needs of Disabled Air Travellers at a roundtable in the European Parliament and it has since been discussed at a UK aviation industry session jointly hosted by ESAAG and the UK CAA. The Charter recommends best practice for all aspects of aviation special assistance.
ESAAG has also helped easyJet to introduce on-board wheelchairs across its fleet and has been involved in changes to cabin layout, which includes a newly designed accessible toilet. ESAAG has also had a role in wider easyJet projects, such as the consolidation of easyJet operations at London Gatwick into the North Terminal and digital developments such as improved information and advice, the on-going reconfiguration of the easyJet website and apps for use in navigating airports.
25 Apr 2017