Last night, Twitter rallied behind a blind lady and her Guide dog who had been left stranded at Gatwick Airport in London, where she was supposed to fly back home to Belfast, Northern Ireland. For are non-UK friends, this is considered an internal/domestic flight and so the Guide Dog did not need a passport. Or so you would think.
On an interview, Joanna Jones gave to the Nolan show, she said they asked to see the dog’s passport and then changed it to her “paperwork”. On their website however, it states the dog’s harness and tag are sufficient enough but have said that they wanted to see an identity card, stating the guide dog was a working guide dog.
Miss Jones, did not have this identity card and has not had one for her guide in the time she has regularly travelled between England and Northern Ireland. The Guide Dogs Association are apparently backing Easy Jet and saying she should have produced an identity card.
I hear you saying, but she didn’t have one, did she? No, and who is responsible for that? Yes, the guide Dogs Association for the Blind, here in the UK who is our biggest training organisation for working Guide Dogs in Great Britain.
My question to all those UK guide dog owners, do you have such a card and when did you receive it? Was it on qualification or should we all run out and ask for one now. Because, I see a potential slippery slide coming up. Soon, all those difficult businesses we encounter, taxi drivers who do not want to take guide dogs, are going to hear this story and start demanding “proof” of our guides being “real” Guide Dogs.
I hate to say this but the association has failed Miss Jones. Easy Jet failed too as they never asked for such identification on her outbound trip to England.
We have checked, a UK Guide Dog Harness, complete with badges and tags cannot be bought on Ebay so how ridiculous is that? The worst thing is, I know when I have spoken to Guide dogs in the past about flying to Ireland to Dublin about Bailey flying, no mention of such identification was had. I was “advised” to maybe get a piece of paper saying he was a Guide Dog but never had a mention of an identification card.
I know one thing for sure, Miss Jones was not at fault as Easy Jet have said publicly. She was misguided by the Guide dog association on travelling with her guide and a victim of a lack of consistency on Easy Jet’s behalf. Right or wrong, they handled this very unprofessionally. Miss Jones must feel very let down by the very association who claim to want to advance blind people’s mobility.
Has anyone had a similar experience to Joanna? And if so, please share it with us. Please let us know if any of you lovely lot are in possession of such an identification card. This could be a district issue.