How Virgin Atlantic and Guide Dogs are improving travel for people with sight loss

Virgin Atlantic
Virgin Atlantic
Natalie Clarkson
by Natalie Clarkson
19 April 2023

With new research revealing that people with sight loss are reluctant to travel due to problems in the past, Virgin Atlantic has teamed up with Guide Dogs to create a more inclusive air travel experience for people with a visual impairment.

With 250 people in the UK starting to lose their sight every day, this partnership will offer Virgin Atlantic’s cabin crew bespoke training on how to support customers experiencing sight loss. Guide Dogs will provide each cabin crew member with online resources incorporated into their wider training programme in a bid to improve accessibility for those travelling with sight loss.

Guide Dogs’ training aims to support customers by teaching Virgin Atlantic crew best practices when helping customers with visual impairments and covers topics from how to approach someone with sight loss, to navigating narrow or busy spaces, stairs and doorways, to take a seat. It will also focus on the best position on the aircraft for guide dogs to rest during long journeys. And Virgin Atlantic’s people will have opportunities to participate in more in-depth practical training, where they will learn to safely guide someone with sight loss with confidence, skill and empathy.

Corneel Koster, Chief Customer and Operations Officer, Virgin Atlantic said: “At Virgin Atlantic, we believe that everyone can take on the world and that means ensuring every one of our customers has the best possible experience when they fly with us. Our partnership with Guide Dogs is one part of this journey and aims to broaden our understanding of those travelling with sight loss, ensuring that we make flying more accessible for everyone. We recognise there’s work to do but are looking forward to making a real impact together as our partnership evolves.”

John Welsman, Customer Experience Lead, Guide Dogs added: “We’re delighted to be working with Virgin Atlantic and hope our long-term partnership will put in place improvements that will tangibly impact the lives of those with sight loss for the better. By providing advice to cabin crew and having them undertake sighted guide training, we hope blind and partially-sighted passengers will have the confidence to travel as fully and independently as possible.”

Visit Virgin Atlantic to find out more.

Virgin Red has also teamed up with Guide Dogs to enable members to donate Virgin Points to the charity. Not a member yet? Sign up now and start earning points today.