Transport authority to examine airline pet policies over allergy concerns

The Canadian Press ~ The News
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People with pet allergies may soon breathe a sigh of relief as Canada's transport authority examines the pet policies of the country's biggest airlines.
In a decision released Thursday, the Canadian Transportation Agency says three people who complained about allergies to cats can be considered persons with disabilities.
However, the agency hasn't outright banished small pets from Air Canada, Air Canada Jazz and WestJet flights.
Instead, it will review the airlines' policies and determine how to deal with the allergy issue.
The agency has also asked the airlines to come up with alternative suggestions for accommodating people who are effectively disabled by their allergies to small animals.
An editorial published last week in the Canadian Medical Association Journal argued that airline passengers with pet allergies should not be forced to share cabin space with dogs and cats.
Federal regulations require the airlines to allow guide dogs or other service animals to travel in passenger cabins, but that doesn't include regular household pets.
Air Canada stopped allowing pets in passenger cabins in September 2006, but reversed its position last summer after facing a barrage of criticism from pet owners.
Calgary-based Westjet allows small dogs, cats, birds or rabbits to travel in its aircraft.

Organizations: Air Canada, WestJet, Canadian Transportation Agency Canadian Medical Association Journal

Geographic location: Canada

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Recent comments

  • jennifer
    July 02, 2010 - 13:33

    Thats pretty harsh comments there Donny. People dont choose to have allergies, and some people, like my husband has an allergy to cats that can actually stop his breathing. His airway closes and unless he has an epipen he's in for an ambulance ride. Dont be so rude, i dont like it either when folks whine about everything petty, but your comments are ignorant.
    By the way, our family has only ever flown once in 10 years due to the high risks of coming in contact from a seat previously used by a kitty and my husbands serious allergies but sometimes Donny Dooley ya can't take a bus that far to a last min. funeral that far, so guess we sickly folk have to fly sometimes too.

  • Heather
    July 02, 2010 - 13:32

    There should be a way to accomodate everyone. What about those who move provinces, are they to be expected to give away the family pet if they travel by plane? As of now the rules are 4 pets per cabin. Would it be so hard to ensure those with allergies sit away from those with pets. The animals have to stay in a carrier under the seat. How would that harm an allergy suffer sitting at the opposite end, most of the time they wouldn't even know the animal is there if they never saw them board or the animal never made a sound.

  • kevin
    July 02, 2010 - 13:31

    with the hundreds of thousand of travellers on planes i am supprised that transport canada is going to all that trouble for three complaints,all you have to do is tell the airline you have alligies and they will seat you away from any animals,don't forget there are certain dogs that people don't bother people with alligies

  • Joseph
    July 02, 2010 - 13:25

    I am the biggest pet lover out there. I love my pets more than people, but... allergies can kill. Moving ? Take your pet in your car and drive. Or, don't be cheap and engage in a professional service dedicated to moving animals and animals only. Aircraft cabin air RECIRCULATES very strongly, so there is no safe place to put them. There are lots of problems with flying these days and we don't need more conflict. I remember when I could fly intra-provincially with my hunting rifle as on-board luggage ! Anyways, when it comes to our/your pets... please be considerate and don't be arrogant.

  • Roger
    July 02, 2010 - 13:23

    If the pet owners could have their way, the people with allergies would be travelling in the cargo holding area.
    What a joke. If you can't leave home without your animal, then don't leave home.

  • Donny
    July 02, 2010 - 13:23

    If you can't put up with watery eyes or itchy skin for the duration of the flight, wear a mask or take the bus! I would rather take my chances sitting next to an untethered pitbull than someone whining about their allergies. No offence.

  • b
    July 02, 2010 - 13:22

    I've had encounters with bratty kids on flights than I have had with animals. I can recall a couple of times flying when certain spoiled brats (with their idiot parents) should have been marched off to the cargo area of the plane.

  • mercedes
    July 02, 2010 - 13:21

    I think I must be the biggest pet lover in the world, but animals don't come before human beings. Humaan health must come first.

  • marg
    July 02, 2010 - 13:18

    I would rather share my cabin space with any type of animal than some humans I have been forced to share. They do not carry bombs or box cutters. I am allergic to air conditioning and I learn to endure it with a mask and injections which are available to all. Whiners all!!!!!

  • Pet
    July 02, 2010 - 13:15

    I am an allergy suffer. I am allergic to perfume, angora sweaters, and other chemicals but not to pet dander which is where the allergies spring from. If a person sits next to me with an Angora sweater, I am in trouble. What am I going to do? Ask them to take off the sweater? Animals are required to be crated - the crate contains the dander;it does not circulate through the cabin. Service dogs, which are not crated, will cause allergic reactions. My advice, take allergy medication and learn how to travel with animal on board!

  • Stein
    July 02, 2010 - 13:15

    I am travelling to Ontario to pick up a new puppy and am happy that presently I will be able to bring him back with me inside the cabin. I plan on buying the seat next to me to avoid any people issues as I myself have allergies to some dogs, all cats and alot more so I understand. Having said that, it annoyed me to no end that people are allowed to bring lobsters aboard. This almost caused a panic attack as I am deadly allergic to shellfish so if they banish pets then other allergens should also be banned like shellfish, perfume(smell test?) bananas, eggs, nuts, peanut butter and the list go on. Maybe they could offer personal bubbles for those in need, that might stop the whining.

  • Seamus
    July 02, 2010 - 13:15

    Your kidding me right Roger? So let's say I am moving from St. John's to Toronto. My family pet is supposed to be put to sleep or given up because someone on the plane might get puffy eyes and a few sniffles? Pet's are like family members, and just about everyone I have ever met has had one or wanted one. By the way, calling people with animal allergies disabled is like calling fat people disabled. No one dies from an allergy to a cat or dog, but the cat or dog can die if they are stored with the luggage.

  • Frank
    July 02, 2010 - 13:12

    Donny..... Where you live says it all, it's all in the name. I have allergies to cats in particular and it isn't pleasant. I don't whine, I am just totally uncomfortable with the puffy eyes, sniffling, trouble breathing et el. I pay good money for a seat and expect to be accomodated before Cuddles . As for your bus suggestion, do you have their schedule for my trip to Fl.? I don't mind five days by coach while Cuddles is enjoying the sunshine in five hours. I guess you dress yourself in the mornings also!

  • Lucy
    July 02, 2010 - 13:12

    As a pet owner I can honestlly say I was relieved to hear Air Canada was allowing pets on their flights again. There are times I have to travel and my dog comes with me, mainly because I don't know of a suitable kennel for him in St. John's. I've looked but the ones I've seen weren't what I would want for my pet.

    While I'm sympathetic to people with allergies, I don't believe the solution is to ban pets from flights. Why not allow daily flights to have pets every second day? If you have allergies you travel Monday, people with pets on Tuesday. Seems fair. Everyone needs the opportunity to travel safely and happily.

  • jennifer
    July 01, 2010 - 20:22

    Thats pretty harsh comments there Donny. People dont choose to have allergies, and some people, like my husband has an allergy to cats that can actually stop his breathing. His airway closes and unless he has an epipen he's in for an ambulance ride. Dont be so rude, i dont like it either when folks whine about everything petty, but your comments are ignorant.
    By the way, our family has only ever flown once in 10 years due to the high risks of coming in contact from a seat previously used by a kitty and my husbands serious allergies but sometimes Donny Dooley ya can't take a bus that far to a last min. funeral that far, so guess we sickly folk have to fly sometimes too.

  • Heather
    July 01, 2010 - 20:21

    There should be a way to accomodate everyone. What about those who move provinces, are they to be expected to give away the family pet if they travel by plane? As of now the rules are 4 pets per cabin. Would it be so hard to ensure those with allergies sit away from those with pets. The animals have to stay in a carrier under the seat. How would that harm an allergy suffer sitting at the opposite end, most of the time they wouldn't even know the animal is there if they never saw them board or the animal never made a sound.

  • kevin
    July 01, 2010 - 20:20

    with the hundreds of thousand of travellers on planes i am supprised that transport canada is going to all that trouble for three complaints,all you have to do is tell the airline you have alligies and they will seat you away from any animals,don't forget there are certain dogs that people don't bother people with alligies

  • Joseph
    July 01, 2010 - 20:12

    I am the biggest pet lover out there. I love my pets more than people, but... allergies can kill. Moving ? Take your pet in your car and drive. Or, don't be cheap and engage in a professional service dedicated to moving animals and animals only. Aircraft cabin air RECIRCULATES very strongly, so there is no safe place to put them. There are lots of problems with flying these days and we don't need more conflict. I remember when I could fly intra-provincially with my hunting rifle as on-board luggage ! Anyways, when it comes to our/your pets... please be considerate and don't be arrogant.

  • Roger
    July 01, 2010 - 20:09

    If the pet owners could have their way, the people with allergies would be travelling in the cargo holding area.
    What a joke. If you can't leave home without your animal, then don't leave home.

  • Donny
    July 01, 2010 - 20:08

    If you can't put up with watery eyes or itchy skin for the duration of the flight, wear a mask or take the bus! I would rather take my chances sitting next to an untethered pitbull than someone whining about their allergies. No offence.

  • b
    July 01, 2010 - 20:06

    I've had encounters with bratty kids on flights than I have had with animals. I can recall a couple of times flying when certain spoiled brats (with their idiot parents) should have been marched off to the cargo area of the plane.

  • mercedes
    July 01, 2010 - 20:04

    I think I must be the biggest pet lover in the world, but animals don't come before human beings. Humaan health must come first.

  • marg
    July 01, 2010 - 19:59

    I would rather share my cabin space with any type of animal than some humans I have been forced to share. They do not carry bombs or box cutters. I am allergic to air conditioning and I learn to endure it with a mask and injections which are available to all. Whiners all!!!!!

  • Stein
    July 01, 2010 - 19:54

    I am travelling to Ontario to pick up a new puppy and am happy that presently I will be able to bring him back with me inside the cabin. I plan on buying the seat next to me to avoid any people issues as I myself have allergies to some dogs, all cats and alot more so I understand. Having said that, it annoyed me to no end that people are allowed to bring lobsters aboard. This almost caused a panic attack as I am deadly allergic to shellfish so if they banish pets then other allergens should also be banned like shellfish, perfume(smell test?) bananas, eggs, nuts, peanut butter and the list go on. Maybe they could offer personal bubbles for those in need, that might stop the whining.

  • Pet
    July 01, 2010 - 19:54

    I am an allergy suffer. I am allergic to perfume, angora sweaters, and other chemicals but not to pet dander which is where the allergies spring from. If a person sits next to me with an Angora sweater, I am in trouble. What am I going to do? Ask them to take off the sweater? Animals are required to be crated - the crate contains the dander;it does not circulate through the cabin. Service dogs, which are not crated, will cause allergic reactions. My advice, take allergy medication and learn how to travel with animal on board!

  • Seamus
    July 01, 2010 - 19:54

    Your kidding me right Roger? So let's say I am moving from St. John's to Toronto. My family pet is supposed to be put to sleep or given up because someone on the plane might get puffy eyes and a few sniffles? Pet's are like family members, and just about everyone I have ever met has had one or wanted one. By the way, calling people with animal allergies disabled is like calling fat people disabled. No one dies from an allergy to a cat or dog, but the cat or dog can die if they are stored with the luggage.

  • Frank
    July 01, 2010 - 19:49

    Donny..... Where you live says it all, it's all in the name. I have allergies to cats in particular and it isn't pleasant. I don't whine, I am just totally uncomfortable with the puffy eyes, sniffling, trouble breathing et el. I pay good money for a seat and expect to be accomodated before Cuddles . As for your bus suggestion, do you have their schedule for my trip to Fl.? I don't mind five days by coach while Cuddles is enjoying the sunshine in five hours. I guess you dress yourself in the mornings also!

  • Lucy
    July 01, 2010 - 19:49

    As a pet owner I can honestlly say I was relieved to hear Air Canada was allowing pets on their flights again. There are times I have to travel and my dog comes with me, mainly because I don't know of a suitable kennel for him in St. John's. I've looked but the ones I've seen weren't what I would want for my pet.

    While I'm sympathetic to people with allergies, I don't believe the solution is to ban pets from flights. Why not allow daily flights to have pets every second day? If you have allergies you travel Monday, people with pets on Tuesday. Seems fair. Everyone needs the opportunity to travel safely and happily.