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Speak Up: Pets, Planes, and Allergies

If flying for the holidays was on your to-do list, then you may have noticed some furry passengers accompanying you on the flight. I am a huge animal lover, and I adore dogs and cats, but I'm also highly allergic, as are many people. Apparently on some airlines, a certain number of pets are allowed on a given flight, as long as they are in one of those cramped pet carriers that can fit under the seat in front of you. It's not only uncomfortable for the poor animals, but it can be a huge health risk for other passengers who are highly allergic. How odd is it that you can't pack more than 4 ounces of lotion, but you can pack a live animal!

It's awesome that the airline is being so accommodating to people who want to travel with their pets, but have they considered the well-being of passengers who suffer from allergies? For their sake, do you think there should be a rule against pets on planes?


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jojobe jojobe 6 years
This is a really tricky one - and it comes down to whose rights are more important, poeple with allergies or people with pets. And the answer is neither, they should be equal. To add some context, I have a son who is extremely allergic to dogs. He will react even with zero contact with dogs in open air environments where he is kept away at distances of over 50 metres... so a dog on a plane is going to cause a reaction. His reactions have resulted in admission to special care units in hospital for up to 4 days (on more than 1 occasion). So under these circumstances is it fair that allowing one person to travel with a dog with result in another going to hospital but on the other hand my son is not on every flight. The argument about cost is not that relevant because a pet is usually cheaper than a person, but should selection be based on ability to pay? I don't think so. The idea of pet restricted flights is not a bad one as it is easy to administer for the airlines, therefore lower cost to implement. It can be compared to the costs of flights during school holiday times versus not so evens the game up a little, however still possibly not fair. I would prefer a system that would register the needs of the individual on a first come first served basis. So when I book a flight I check if any dogs are currently booked on, if not I book the flight and request it to be a no dog/pet flight and it becomes restricted. If a dog/pet is already booked on then I cannot take that flight. Even this is not perfect, what if it is the only flight available and it is the last chance for someone to see a family member before they pass away (well, systems cannot built to cater for every situation). At least this system removes the debate of who is more important in any given circumstance. Of course it does not take into consideration special needs dogs for the blind/deaf for example. This is a really tricky, but the above situation at least helps make it a bit fairer and the airlines at informed upfront and aware of the issues so if there is conflict it can be managed. This is an highly emotive subject and I personally find it very telling when I see adverts for kids charities next to animal charities - often the animal charity is asking for higher monthly payments than for children, which clearly highlights society today puts a higher value on an animal than someone else's child. There is no right and wrong in this but there must be a fair way for both sides to travel.
JaimeLeah526 JaimeLeah526 8 years
I agree with Gonzette. If you don't want to be on a plane with a pet you should look for an airline that does not allow pets. I'd love to be able to fly with my cat if I had to and even I'm slightly allergic to the little guy.
Renees3 Renees3 8 years
it was probably a therapy dog of some sort, there's not just dogs for blind people, but also for deaf and other disabilities. They Have to allow these animals on the plane and they don't follow the same rules as regular passenger dogs. Normally a dog that large would have to be crated and ride in cargo.
pixelhaze pixelhaze 8 years
One time on a flight a guy sitting in the same row as me (he had the window seat, I had aisle and there was no one between us) brought along a huge dog! I don't know what it was, it was black and white with short hair, bigger than a dalmatian but not as big as a great dane. The dog obviously didn't fit in a carrier or under the seat, he just sat down on the floor on the guy's feet and seemed to go to sleep. I was very surprised but it didn't bother me, he was such a well behaved dog, I guess he must have been on a lot of flights? I want to say he was a seeing-eye dog or something like that because he had a special vest but I don't remember the guy being blind so that's probably wrong. . . .
Renees3 Renees3 8 years
I understand that people have allergies and that it can be horrible, but like I said before I don't think the right thing to do is just not allow them at all. Maybe having pet specific flights would be a good thing, a hassle for some but better than nothing. Or at least having some way of notifying customers that animals are on board. But all in all, like I said, allergies are everywhere and we can't just stop everything because of them. I don't want to sound like a jerk, but like someone mentioned before there are people with SEVERE peanut allergies and they still serve them on planes. Or I have allergies to perfume but people won't stop wearing it on planes. It's a bummer
julieulie julieulie 8 years
YES, for people with severe, asthma-inducing pet allergies, it is horrific to wind up on a flight with an animal. I think that flights to major destinations should limit one flight/day/location to pet flights. I once had to be rushed to a hospital immediately upon landing because my asthma was so bad (allergic to dogs) because there was a dog a few rows behind me, in a carrier, under the seat (and yes, I had my inhaler with me). Sure, you have to pay $150 to fly with your dog, but that $$ didn't go toward my hospital bill now, did it? I'm sorry, but your dog shouldn't come before the health of a human. I get it, people LOVE pets. My husband is a huge dog person. Once I moved out of the house, my parents got cats and love them to pieces. I understand that, but you cannot put other passengers at serious risk for your pet. All pets should be grouped on one flight, or no pets on airlines at all.
eadavenp eadavenp 8 years
Some of the restrictions right now are based on the weather and how cold it is... And while I don't know if you can Fed-Ex a dog, you can send one via UPS. ( or at least a cat can be sent that way). It costs a fortune, but it is doable. They travel air cargo and have to be picked up at the airport.
ilanac13 ilanac13 8 years
well this is a hard one. a lot of people consider their pets to be like children, and they can't leave home without them, let alone go on vacation for a few days. i can understand how they would really want to have their pet on the plane with them, but at what expense to others right?
missyd missyd 8 years
exactly, fleurfairy. That's what I think too. My dog is like my little child. I love her to pieces. I don't want to leave her. Its destroying me. And the thing is, I really have to go home for Xmas this year. My hubby is in the forces and in Afghanistan for Xmas. I would be entirely alone. The airlines are not being very accommodating, and considering some people's circumstances, it is heartbreaking. Can you FedEx a dog??
fleurfairy fleurfairy 8 years
Human baby, that is.
fleurfairy fleurfairy 8 years
I took my dog home for Thanksgiving and left him with my parents until I return at Christmas. I just couldn't put him on an extra two flights. It seemed like it would be too much stress for him. That said, I would be VERY upset if I couldn't take him on planes to have him with me during the holidays. My dog is like my child. In fact, I don't want kids ever so he is my very best friend and companion. Would you leave your baby at daycare during Thankgiving and Christmas? I doubt it.
Shebelle Shebelle 8 years
I just moved from the Netherlands to the US and I brought my cat in the cabin on the flight. It was bad enough for her to be on such a long flight - I can't imagine what it would have been like for her to be in cargo. I have a friend who works in the complaint department of a big airline and she told me stories of frozen dogs, animals that were traumatized because big pieces of luggage fell on their carrier and nearly crashed them and one dog that died of toxic liquid leaking out of the walls of the airplane and the dog licking it. I'd never put my cat there. Anyway, only up to two animals are allowed on a flight and they have to stay in a certain kind of carrier the whole time, you can't take them out. There is going to be more cat and dog hair flying around from pet owners than from the pet itself. I did hear though that some airlines ask all the passengers if someone is really allergic and if there is somebody - the pet owner gets bumped to the next flight (with the pet of course). If you are very allergic and you mention that when booking the flight, I would think they would take that into consideration.
missyd missyd 8 years
Its so ironic that I came across this topic right now. I am having a HUGE problem (I have spent all day trying to figure this out and I can't). I need to fly air canada and right now they have whats called a 'blackout period' (no animals in cargo, like weffie mentioned above). If your pet is under 22lbs it can travel in the cabin under the seat in front of you. I live alone in another province, and i want to go home to be with my family at Xmas. I have a 35 lb Sheltie....and I cant get there home anyway, anyhow! I thought of the bus option...but I only have 8 days vacation time from work, and it would take 2 days each way to get there. It is too much time to spend travelling to get there. I don't want to leave my beautiful little girlie back here for Xmas :( I am devastated. Stupid airlines! And right now, they all seem to have this 'blackout' thing on for Xmas!!!!!!!!!!
magickofreiki magickofreiki 8 years
of course they should be allowed to fly with their owners. for one, it's dangerous and downright cruel to have to put them in the cargo area. The temperature there is extreme and their cages get pushed around the whole flight in a dark area. Could you imagine how traumatizing that would be?? I understand if people are highly allergic, so I think an email should be sent to all passengers letting them know that an animal will be present on board and let ppl decide for themselves if they want to switch flights (free of charge) if their allergy is THAT bad. maybe that's not the answer to the problem, but I def know the answer is not to ban animals from flying on board with their owners. no way!
vanillabeans vanillabeans 8 years
I always bring my pup with me when I go home to visit. I am sympathetic to those who are allergic - I'm allergic to cats. But given that they stay in the carriers the transfer of dander should be limited. And like others have stated - we pay for that privilege. Delta charges $150 each way and we lose the space beneath in front of us! Also most airlines limit the amount of animals per flight as well. I just wish they charged extra for people who overflow their seats into mine or have excessive BO - ugh.
tlsgirl tlsgirl 8 years
I am so with Spectra on the kid-free flight thing. I'd rather sit with a Great Dane on my lap the whole time than have a child behind me kicking my seat or screaming. That said, I'm not allergic so I don't have much a problem with animals on board (I've never been on a flight with one), but I can see why it could be a huge problem if you have an animal allergy.
Spectra Spectra 8 years
I'm not against it, but I do understand the allergy thing. Airlines should maybe book flights that are "animal-free" for those people that can't tolerate them. I also think there should be "kid-free" flights because I find little screaming kids on airplanes to be a huge nuisance.
Gonzette Gonzette 8 years
I bring my Maltese on planes all the time--he's small, hypoallergenic and he doesn't shed. He'd much rather take a nap under the seat for a few hours than go to a kennel or stay with a friend. Many carriers do not allow animals, so people with allergies can always look for them or call the airline to find out if there will be any animals on their flights.
esweet esweet 8 years
I do think it's bad for the people who are allergic...but sometimes you just have to fly with your pet, right? I'm assuming when people move they must have to fly with their animals...
Allytta Allytta 8 years
i have never been allergic, but i always think of that when somebody brings a dog on to a bus in city... not to mention a few hour flight when you can't get out.
bananapancake84 bananapancake84 8 years
I'm allergic to cats, and wouldn't want to have one on a plane with me. At the same time, I worry about how careful luggage handlers are with pets stored in cargo. I'm also horribly allergic to peanuts and peanut butter. Almost all airlines for some reason offer peanuts as snacks, even though it is a common allergy that can actually cause death in some people just by smelling it! No nuts on planes please! I have never heard of a cat allergy killing someone, just making them uncomfortable. I always carry benedryl with me and make sure I have it when I fly. I'm also debating wearing a surgical mask on planes (keeps away colds and other viruses, and keep allergies at bay) but haven't decided if I'm paranoid enough to wear one.
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