Pet-free planes?

Here’s an issue just beginning to bare its teeth:

In this article in the New York Times, Roni Caryn Rabin points out that a group of Canadian doctors is raising concerns about pets in airline passenger cabins.

Allowing pets on planes, say the doctors, means more pet dander and more chance of setting off asthma attacks, and worse, for people who have pet allergies.

The preferences of pet owners should not supersede the well-being of their fellow passengers. Pets can be accommodated comfortably and safely in airplane cargo holds, which is where they belong. Airlines must choose to put the needs of their human passengers first, or be forced to do so.

The physicians’ concerns are outlined in an editorial in The Canadian Medical Association Journal.   The editorial points out that in January, 2010 the Canadian Transportation Agency ruled that people with allergies to nuts would be considered to have a disability and, under the Canadian Transportation Act, could request special accommodations.  Now the CTA is  also looking at whether or not those with allergies to pets should  be considered to have a disability as well.

What do you think? Should people with pet allergies be guaranteed the right to fly on an airplane with no pets – and no pet dander?

12 Comments »





12 Responses to “Pet-free planes?”

  1. I think it’s a bit ridiculous… I’ve flown on many flights with pets, and have never come across someone who required medical assistance due to the presence of pets. If they ban pets in the cabin, then I want people wearing cologne or perfume to be banned as well. I, and many others have allergies or sensitivities to the chemicals used in perfume (not to mention some of them are carcinogens).

    The line has to be drawn somewhere. All airborne allergens should be treated the same. They should all either be banned (and you’d end up with very few things allowed on a plane), or allowed.

    If we’re talking about recycled air, the more concerning thing is cabin air quality generally. On many planes, the air intake is located near the engines, meaning jet fuel fumes, which are highly toxic, are brought into the plane.

  2. Let’s see. We’re kicking off the drunk people, crazy people, fat people, people who “look” suspicious, people with loud kids, loud parents, smelly people. Why not boot the pets? Well because the airlines on average shake people down for $300 round trip to carry on a 10 lb dog. The airlines, who asked for and got their way to do business via deregulation, now have no idea how to make money. Once they can get a buck some way they will never let go.

    Kristin is spot on. Other than banning smoking (reluctantly) the airlines and aircraft manufacturers have done little over the years to clean up the recycled air.

    If you are allergic to pets, if you can not tolerate parents with screaming kids, if you think wearing tank tops & flips in first class is a sin, then DON’T FLY! A plane ticket is not a birth right. Understand that after deregulation the airlines apparently made a decision to use Greyhound as a business model. Next you will hear from United: “Don’t make a fuss and leave the flying to us”.

  3. Maybe the people with allergies could wear a dust mask instead of expecting everyone else to adjust–especially if they are hypersensitive to certain things.

  4. Let me see if I have this right. People with pet allergies shouldn’t fly? There’s something wrong with this picture.

  5. Pets shouldn’t be flying here and there period. But sometimes, you MUST take a pet on a plane – like me, moving to Canada from Brazil.

    Pet owners feel safer with the pets in the cabin since airlines have a history of misplacing pets just like they misplace luggage. There is a story about a cat who escaped from the cage due to mishandling at the airport patio and was never again found. Not to mention a story I heard about the pets arriving dead at the destination since the crew “forgot” to turn on the pressurization in the pet cabin.

    If airlines took pet handling more seriously (rather than “we are not liable for anything that happens to your pet”), pet owners would not be so concerned about putting them in the luggage compartment. Also, the price to ship a pet as cargo (even in the same plane as the owners, but not as checked baggage) is simply ridiculous – quoted USD 1,000 one-way from Sao Paulo to Toronto for a 20-pound dog. Much more expensive than a humam! As checked baggage, it costs ~USD250 and to go on the cabin is a bit cheaper.

  6. Pet Airways is at least one airline that exists just to transport pets in a more comfortable way than stowing them in a pressurized cargo hold.
    Pets fly in the main cabin, not the cargo area.
    They only recently began operations, but already offer service to more than a dozen cities.

    This might be a reasonable option for people who want or need for their pets to travel, abd wish to avoid triggering anyone’s allergies.

  7. I adore dogs and cats, but I go into life-threatening anaphylactic shock if I breathe in their dander. This is like when a person allergic to bees is stung, or a person allergic to nuts eats nuts. Your windpipe shuts down, your blood pressure plummets, you faint, and you suffocate to death within minutes. I can’t get away from the danger in a plane because the air is recirculated. I can’t just wear a dust mask because airborne dander gets in my eyes. Imagine being at 35,000 feet, perhaps over the Atlantic Ocean, with no medical help, asphyxiating. Would you want to go through that? See that happen to the passenger next to you?
    If I were to survive, it would take months of heavy duty antihistamines and prednisone to keep recurring anaphylaxis from turning into anaphylactic shock. Can we not consider acute medical needs? They carry defibrillators on planes. Pet owners have other choices (driving, charter planes, cargo, pet airlines, or leaving the pet with a friend) that do not endanger lives.

  8. Hey everyone,
    I, like the person above am an extreme animal lover. However, I have severe allergies. Allergies that put me in the hospital or worse if ignored. My rights should not be overlooked as they were today when I was bumped off my flight because a healthy woman chose to take her lab on the single cabin plane. My rights were completely overlooked and I hate to say this but anyone who does not realize that animal allergies are a severe issue are completely ignorant. They are life and death situations and, as stated above, the preferences of pet owners should not override my right to fly. It is completely discriminatory and unfair. The airlines need to figure out a way for all of us to coexist and putting animals on the manifest of the plane needs to be the first step. This way, if someone has booked a flight with an animal, I can look and see that on the flight there is an animal and book myself on another flight. Now, because my life was at risk and the airline overlooks that, I cannot get home. This is cruel and discriminatory and it needs to change.
    I completely believe that pets need to be taken care of, I had a hypoallergenic dog and I would have done anything for him. However, there are tons of other options for pet owners. Like the Pet Airlines for one. Allergies are a huge issue and this needs to be resolved.

  9. My allergies to cats and dogs has resulted in serious health impact when I fly. It severely impacts my capacity to care for my family and to be a business owner. Allergic reaction is scored on a scale of 1 to 4 and my test patch swelled to a 10. As a result of taking allergy medications over a period of 40 years my heart is no longer able to tolerate important asthma medication like rescue inhalers. The decision to take animals in the main portion of airplanes robs my capacity as a provider of care to my parents, my son, and my obligation to be an income earner. Typically I finish a flight by having to vomit, experiencing migraines and full blown asthma attack. The reasons I have to fly are important to society. What purpose is served by people travelling with their pets? I pay taxes, care for parents and children and earn income. What do those pets do?

  10. It’s called Allergic Asthma and it’s serious business. I’ve read of animals defecating on the plane due to nervousness or just having to go and being stuck in their crate and that’s problematic. I do NOT want a dog or cat under my seat. That’s MY seat and I paid for it and the space. When you people buy a pet think of all the scenarios beforehand- the lady who said she had nobody to leave her dog with is being untruthful. Many people are traveling everywhere with their dogs because they see them as human and many more just want the attention it brings them. Sounds like a mental problem. We can all thank Paris Hilton, the oxygen thief!

  11. For the first few people who wrote that people should make the alternate arrangements to flying rather than pets..that is really ignorant. Just because you have never had an experience where someone on a plane has not had a reaction because of your animal does not mean it doesnt happen. You are the ones who need to make alternate arrangements!

  12. Planes are just starting to allow pets, so why should I have to change for your pet? I do have animal allergic relations. Your very ignorant to think your more important than anyone else. Pets already have a place to go when they fly. Why change it?

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