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Travel News February 2017


Doggie helpers take a bow - wow!


AIRLINE Flybe has welcomed nine Medical Alert Dogs on board as part of the dogs' comprehensive training and socialisation programme. Organised by the charity Northern Ireland Assistance Dogs (NIAD) the aircraft visit was part of a familiarisation session of George Best Belfast City Airport where the dogs experienced all aspects of taking a flight from check-in to boarding. Eight golden retrievers are in training to be Diabetes Alert Dogs alongside one Spanish water dog who is trialling the ability to become an Allergy Alert Dog. Aged between one and two and a half years old, the youngsters are in various stages of their Medical Assistance training, having already reached a high standard of obedience and socialisation thanks to their 'puppy parents' - volunteers who look after and train the puppies from just eight weeks old. They were walked through every area of the airport from


check-in, through security and finally onto a Flybe aircraft.


Andrea Hayes, Flybe Regional General Manager, said, "The comfort and safety of our passengers is at the forefront of everything we do at Flybe. We have always facilitated Guide Dogs on board and as the skills of our four- footed friends have become more sophisticated, we are now seeing increasing numbers of other specialist assistance dogs as well.”


Judith Byrne, NIAD, explains, "We train and provide medical alert dogs to adults with medical conditions such as diabetes. Our Diabetes Alert Dogs are trained to warn their partner that a hypo or hyper glycaemic episode is imminent, thus allowing time for the person to get to a safe place and take medication or appropriate action. The whole aim of these specially trained dogs is to enable the person to lead a more independent life.


Welcome for right to weigh at check-in


HAWAIIAN Airlines has won the right to weigh its passengers at check in and new research has revealed that 61 per cent of British holidaymakers would also welcome these measures.


According to a poll of over 3,500 British holidaymakers, conducted by travel extras specialist HolidayExtras, a quarter of people were behind the plans for safety reasons and 15 per cent thought that heavier passengers should be charged extra at check in - a view that is held by almost twice as many men than women.


For the 39 per cent of people who didn’t agree with weighing passengers at check in, many respondents found it to be rude, intrusive, and unnecessary. A further 16 per cent also worried that it would lead to discrimination against larger passengers. When asked how they would respond to an airline which started charging extra based on weight, 20 per cent of people said they would boycott the company. However, nearly one in 10 said the initiative would actively encourage them to use an airline more often. Ant Clarke Cowell, Communications Director at HolidayExtras.com, commented: “We take a keen interest in any emerging trends, initiatives and technologies that could have an impact on our customers’ travel experiences.


“The subject of weighing passengers at check in is clearly a very controversial and sensitive one which divides opinion. As more airlines look to introduce weight-based policies, this issue will increasingly become a talking point and it’s interesting to see that public support has increased during the past year.”charged extra at check in - a view that is held by almost twice as many men than women.


Costa prices costa less


IN-resort prices for the Costa del Sol have dropped, meaning holiday spend for British holidaymakers choosing the Spanish region will stretch further this summer, according to Post Office Travel Money. The Post Office's Worldwide Holiday Costs Barometer compares local prices from 44 destinations for staple tourist items, including meals, drinks and toiletries.


In the Costa del Sol, the average price for a basket of staple goods is £38.79, 3 per cent lower than last year, putting the region in third place.


Portugal's Algarve tops the chart for the second year running with a barometer total of £33.36 - a manageable £4 more than a year ago.


In Portugal's local currency the euro, the price of an evening meal for two with wine - the biggest single cost in the barometer basket - is down almost 5 per cent year-on-year in the Algarve.


Runner-up Sunny Beach, Bulgaria (£33.53) is just a few pence behind the Algarve, with a 1.5 per cent fall in local prices.


Elsewhere in Europe, Marmaris, Turkey (£49.74, fourth), Prague (£51.17, fifth), Budapest (£53.18, seventh) and Corfu (£63.54, 10th) have retained their top 10 places, while Paphos, this year's European Capital of Culture, (£53.03) has risen to sixth place, its highest position so far.


UPDA 7TE


Flybe cabin crew attendant Stacey Allen pictured with some very special doggie passengers (see story left)


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