A Connect magazine article: From Issue 15 published May 2017
We’re gearing up for the holiday season and lots of us will be flying this summer. Connect Communications panel member and frequent flyer Hussein Patwa shares his three tips on making flying as pain-free and enjoyable as possible.
Know your routes, connections, where you’re going, when and how to get there. If you can, print and share a copy with anyone helping you.
Book assistance in advance
You can do this with the airline you’re flying with or with your travel agent. It can be tricky to find the right contact details so have a look on their website or call customer services and ask to speak to the specialist assistance team. Do this as far in advance as you can; but even if you’re travelling at the drop of a hat, still book assistance, as it can be really useful travelling in large or busy airports.
Leave plenty of time
Hanging around an airport isn’t everyone’s idea of fun but if you leave yourself enough time, you’ll have a chance to relax before flying. It’s best to get to the airport no less than an hour or to 90 minutes before your flight. This gives people helping you time to assist you and any other passengers they’re helping too.
Those with guide dogs need to have passports in paw. Vet Kirsten Simpson shares her tips
The pet passport used to be more complex and time consuming with blood tests. But a few years ago they made it easier to get and use to encourage people to help in preventing diseases being transmitted. Your guide dog passport, like a human passport, is not stamped when you go into different countries; it’s used to show that your dog is a UK resident.
They want to see that your dog is vaccinated because rabies doesn’t exist in the UK but there are cases in parts of Europe; being vaccinated makes sure that your dog won’t go abroad and bring rabies back to the UK.
Visit your local vet. The animal must be over 12 weeks old before they get are vaccinated. The vaccine takes three weeks to take effect, after which you’re fine to go out of the UK.
Your dog must be also be chipped first. Most puppies are chipped about eight weeks old and then come and see us for a private vaccination course.
If you’re keen to go on holiday quickly, puppies can be chipped at a week or a couple of weeks old. The rabies vaccine is just one vaccination and lasts three years, but they have to be chipped first of all. So chips first, rabies vaccination, get passports... and that’s you fine for three years.