Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Alaska Airlines Collaborates with Guide Dogs for the Blind to Update Policy and Allow Service Animals in Training to Travel

Alaska Airlines, in collaboration with Guide Dogs for the Blind (GDB), has updated their Accessible Travel Services policy to allow service animals in training to travel domestically at no cost.

“GDB is honored to partner with Alaska Airlines and we are thrilled that our guide dog puppies in training will now have the ability to practice traveling both in the airport and in cabin. This type of exposure helps to prepare them for the highest level of service dog work -- becoming a guide dog for someone who is blind or visually impaired,” said Christine Benninger, Guide Dogs for the Blind president and CEO. “We very much appreciate Alaska Airlines’ ongoing efforts to improve independent travel and customer service for all travelers, especially those with disabilities.”

Listed are some of the requirements:

-Travel is wholly within the United States.
-Space confirmed in advance.
-The service dog is being transported by their trainer/raiser.
-The trainer/raiser can provide a health certificate for the dog in training and an official ID card issued by the assistance organization.

“Making travel easier for our customers is a mantra at Alaska Airlines,” said Len Wolford, Alaska Airlines passenger service policy and procedure specialist. “When Guide Dogs for the Blind asked us to adopt a policy that would welcome ‘dogs in training’ on our planes, we responded quickly and waived our standard fee to allow service dogs-in-training to travel free of charge.”

Alaska Airlines and GDB recently hosted an exclusive event at Sea-Tac Airport for individuals who are blind and visually impaired, as well as GDB graduates and volunteers, to enhance the travel experience for all.
Alaska Airlines and GDB recently hosted an exclusive event at Sea-Tac Airport for individuals who are 
blind and visually impaired, as well as GDB graduates and volunteers, to enhance the travel experience for all.
GDB puppy raising volunteers raise puppies from age eight weeks to 16-18 months, at which point they can enter into formal guide dog training. During this time in the puppy raising home, families are responsible for providing their guide dog puppies with a well-rounded, nurturing environment. To support the puppy raisers, GDB offers a comprehensive puppy raising manual, organized training and socialization through meetings with other local Puppy Raising clubs, as well as staff that offer training and problem solving for the pups and their raisers. GDB currently has over 2,000 active puppy raising volunteers in the following states: Arizona, California, Colorado, Idaho, Nevada, New Mexico, Oregon, Texas, Utah and Washington.

With several hundred puppies needing raiser homes every year, puppy raisers are a critical part of producing highly trained guide dogs and other service dogs. People interested in Puppy Raising can learn more here: www.guidedogs.com/puppy

To view Alaska Airline’s full updated policy regarding Accessibly Travel Services, specifically Service Animals in Training, please visit: http://www.alaskaair.com/content/travel-info/accessible-services/specialservices-support-animals.aspx

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