Tigerair caters to visually impaired passengers by revising policy on guide dogs

Tigerair caters to visually impaired passengers by revising policy on guide dogs
Ms Cassandra Chiu with her Labrador guide dog, Esme.

SINGAPORE - After being in the spotlight for refusing a guide dog on one of its planes last year, low-cost carrier Tigerair is re-looking its guide dog policy.

According to The Straits Times, the airline is conducting a new trial together with Ms Cassandra Chiu who was allowed to bring her guide dog Esme on board a 9am Tigerair flight to Phuket on Wednesday.

Apart from Ms Chiu, they are also partnering the Guide Dogs Association of the Blind to test out the practicality of permitting visually impaired owners to fly with their guide dogs.

"I'm happy that Tigerair is to making travel more accessible to the visually impaired," said the 35-year-old Ms Chiu.

Ms Chiu has trained about eight cabin crew on how to offer assistance to visually impaired passengers, The Straits Times reported.

COO of Tigerair, Mr Ho Yuen Sang, said that Tigerair is also working with the Singapore Association of the Deaf to better cater to passengers who have hearing difficulties in order to enhance their flying experience .

Mr Ho added: "Allowing guide dogs on board 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... (and) continue to take proactive steps to improve our capabilities and assist customers with special needs," Mr Ho said, according to TODAY.

On Tigerair's website, their current stance on the use of service dogs is: "We do not accommodate service dogs on international flights as well as domestic flights in Australia, Philippines and Indonesia".

The new policy will be subjected to approval by the relevant authorities, said The Straits Times.

stephluo@sph.com.sg

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