Pet Lovers Pitted Against the Allergic

in Managing Allergies, Travel & Dining
Published: June 30, 2010

As news about Air Canada’s decision to once again allow pets in airplane cabins spread, several news outlets reported on the matter. The articles, and corresponding readers’ comments, show the issue is divisive: many people are angered by the new rules, while others are looking forward to bringing their pets on board.

The Toronto Star featured a woman with asthma who flew from Paris to Toronto with a cat as a fellow passenger – and struggled to breathe the entire trip. She used her reliever inhaler, but wasn’t able to get her asthma under control during the flight she describes as “eight hours of distress.”

Meanwhile, Maclean’s spoke to a man whose dog died in the cargo section of plane (note: this larger lab mix dog would have been too large to be allowed in the cabin under the new rules). The article addresses the concerns of those with serious allergies, but stresses the happiness of pet owners with the news. The executive director of the Humane Society of Canada is quoted as saying:

“As a veteran air traveller, I would find [pets] much less objectionable than some of the people who’ve sat next to me on a flight.”

The Toronto Star also published a Q&A with Air Canada, which explains what the airline will do to accommodate those with allergies. It includes this quote from the airline: “We will make reasonable efforts to move you or the pet and pet owner. Where feasible, it may even be possible to allow passengers to change flights at the last minute at no extra charge if you prefer not to be on a particular flight with an animal.” Read the rest of The Star’s Q&A here.

What do you think? Have your say on our Talking Allergies Forum.

See Also:
• Survey: 80% want Pet-free Flights
• Forum: Food Allergies And Airlines
‚Ä¢ Airlines and Allergies: Chart comparing allergy policies of 11 airlines (Note: doesn’t include new Air Canada rules.)
• Tips on Flying with Food Allergies