Thanks to a new Department of Transportation (DOT) regulation designed to help airplane passengers with service animals, all travelers will now find it easier to take their pets along for the ride.
As of May 13, 2009 all airlines must make sure there are pet relief areas, and escorts to those relief areas, for any passenger traveling with a service animals. Airlines and airports have been instructed to work together to make this happen. As a result, airports everywhere are creating, upgrading and expanding pet relief areas that are open to all.
Some airports that never had any pet relief areas are suddenly sprouting them. Many airports that do have pet relief areas are sprucing them up. And some airports with landside only pet parks are adding them to the airside. The bottom line: the new DOT ruling is a win/win ruling that helps anyone traveling with a pet.
Some examples: Philadelphia International Airport has seven pet relief stations. Oakland International Airport, Tucson International Airport, Miami International Airport, and Boston International Airport recently added branded new pet parks. McCarran Airport in Las Vegas spent $5,000 to update its pet parks. And at John Wayne Airport they transformed a spot that travelers were informally using as a pet relief area (some planters) into an official pet park complete with white picket fence and a fire hydrant.
My Well Mannered Traveler on MSNBC.com this week (posting Thursday) will include a photo tour of about a dozen airport pet parks around the country, but just in case you’re straining at the leash to get a peek, here’s a photo of one of my favorites: the Bone Yard at Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport.