Pet buffer zones on planes just won’t work

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The suggestion by the Canadian Transportation Agency (CTA) that a “five-seat buffer” between human passengers with pet allergies will create the safe environment needed for their health doesn’t make sense.

Pets are put on and off the same plane several times as the aircraft makes its way to and from many  destinations daily. Pet dander and hair is circulated and recirculated freely throughout the planes.

Listen to the Canadian Medical Association experts, supported by the Canadian Lung Association, who have to deal with concerned patients before and after airline travel. The MDs have to medicate their patients so they can travel on a public airline at great expense to patient health and to our medical system through patient appointments, emergency treatment, hospital stays and insurance costs for treatment and the prescriptions required for long periods thereafter.

It’s time for common sense to prevail and for the airlines and the CTA to protect the interests of the airline traveller in the same way Via Rail and Marine Atlantic has. Emergency assistance for a passenger suffering the effects of a pet allergy at 35,000 feet is an emergency for everyone aboard.  The pilots have to get the plane on the ground quickly. An attack due to pet allergy is unnecessary. Disruption of everyone’s travel plans is unnecessary.  The costs for everyone involved is unnecessary.

Passenger cabins are for human passengers only, and other, designated areas are available for all pets, even the small ones (now permitted under the seat or in future in so-called buffer zones) for the protection and comfort of all. We tried these buffer or  puffer zones when cigarette smoking was permitted on planes. It didn’t work. Why delay the inevitable?


Sean Callahan

St. John’s

Organizations: Canadian Transportation Agency, Canadian Medical Association, Canadian Lung Association MDs Via Rail Marine Atlantic

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