At the beginning of March, 12 trainee guide dog puppies descended on Edinburgh airport for a very special training day.
On March 3rd, twelve guide dogs aged between six and 15 months arrived at the terminal with their trainers to take part in an airport walkabout from kerbside through to the check-in hall, going through security and into the departure lounge.
Edinburgh airport management hosted the Guide Dogs Scotland team for the special training session designed to allow trainee guide dogs gain experience of a busy airport environment.
“We’re very pleased to welcome the guide dog puppies and their handlers into the airport today so we can help give them valuable training for their future,” Sarah Gardiner, Head of Terminal Operations at Edinburgh Airport, said. “We launched our Travelling with Additional Needs programme last April and have spent the last 12 months working hard with our Terminal and Security teams to help us better understand the complex requirements that some of our passengers may have.”
Edinburgh Airport Travelling with Additional Needs toolkit comprises fact-sheets which break the airport journey down into step-by-step stages, allowing the passenger to familiarise with Edinburgh Airport before arriving at the Terminal.
The fact-sheets explain how to get to the airport and how to check-in, what to expect when going through the security process and how to locate a boarding gate in the departure lounge.
“We realise that each passenger is unique and may have different requirements so that’s why we’ve been working hard to understand the complex types of barriers which can stop people from being able to fly,” Sarah Gardiner added. “We firmly believe that everyone who wants to fly can fly and we’re committed to making sure all of our passengers have the best experience possible.”
"Fully qualified guide dogs are required to face a variety of settings and situations with calmness and confidence, and early tastes of different environments will see them experienced for later life, “David Smith, puppy walking supervisor with Guide Dogs Scotland, said. "It’s a good experience for the pups to get used to the sights, sounds and smells of the airport so it shouldn’t bother them later when they are fully trained guide dogs helping people with sight loss to lead independent lives."
Reduced Mobility Rights acclaimed “Flying with Guide dogs checklist and tips” (click on link to read the article) gives future travellers useful information to prepare for your journey.