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New meaning to the hazards of air travel

February 16, 2010 |  9:00 am

Doggy Air travel seems to get harder all the time. The latest threat to the traveling public comes in the form of four legs and fur.

According to an editorial published today in the Canadian Medical Assn. Journal, it's time for humans with pet allergies to take back the skies. So many people today are flying with small pets in the airline cabins that people with pet allergies are being put at risk, state the authors of the paper, who represent the journal and the University of Ottawa. About one in 10 people have an allergy to animals.

Service animals are rightfully permitted on planes, the authors said, and are not the issue. But pets can travel in cargo, they argue. Some countries have ruled that people who are allergic to nuts should be spared from exposure to those courtesy peanuts aboard many flights, but there are few rules governing pets in the cabin. According to the paper, one Canadian-based airline has pets on about 25% of its flights.

"The preferences of pet owners should not supersede the well-being of their fellow passengers," the authors wrote. "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."

-- Shari Roan

Photo credit: Ray Kachatorian / For The Times

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Comments (16)

If they restrict peoples dogs, then they must also restrict small children and babies. I am severely allergic to those horrible little creatures.

I have been an airline employee for 37 years. Trust me, the only thing that matters is the bottom line, $$.
They will calculate to the penny how many passengers get sick, file and win lawsuits, or quit flying their airline.
If the $100 per pet income is greater than the cost of total of the above, they will keep the pets.
If it costs more to fight the problems they will then say they will stop carrying pets onboard out of concern for all of the passengers on board.

This person is nuts - pardon my pun. Maybe this person should don a haz-mat suit. Seriously, I'd love to know of ANY documented cases of pet allergies affecting people on aircraft.

Shari,

For those of us that have pets, we could not disagree with you more. There are already just a few airlines that allow pets, it's not as if this is an overwhemling issue. If someone is allergic to pets they can be accomodted on an airline or flight that does not allow pets, really how many times have you been on a flight with a dog?


With regard to Companion Pets or Service Dogs being force into the cargo area this is cruel and unusual punishment to the animal and causes extream stress, many animals have died in cargo hold on planes. I suggest you dig deep and find a little compassion please.

I have allergies and am sensitive to those that have allergies however, there are answers that can accomodate all without inconvenience to either.

With just a little creative thinking (I know this takes effort and may be too dfficult for some) there can be many solutions that accomodate everyone.

Thank you for your time, have a wonderful life.

Short of designating certain flights as “hypoallergenic” and disallowing nuts, pets and any animal products to which people may be allergic, to propose a prohibition of small pets in the cabin seems to be a remedy a bit out of proportion with the problem. Sick humans who fly without any consideration for the fellow passengers whom they may infect pose a medical risk to a much wider segment of a carrier’s customers. Before dogs and cats are disallowed, I’d welcome mandatory medical checks for every human prior to boarding.

MY PET IS PART OF MY FAMILY!
WOULD YOU PUT YOUR SON OR DAUGHTER
IN THE CARGO HOLD?
I THINK NOT.
TAKE A PILL !
AND GET OVER IT.

Hi,

I think that this is absurd for people to have there companions put into cargo same as luggages & suitcases. Pets have hardly any right and this just makes it takes it further. I'm allergic to ill tempered children and the noise of a screaming infants. So Maybe they should have a cargo section right next to our companions below with a wet nurse. Understand that these pets, our companions are more than just a dog or a cat they are our best friends and even part of our family. I feel that my Pepper is my family and I would never have a family member ride in cargo so why should I have him ride in cargo. The airline should make sure that no one sitting next to or around the pet has any allergies, make it work.
isa

Some dogs are non-shedding and should not be placed in the same category. My dog is also much cleaner and better behaved than some individuals. I admit that I have terrible allergy to cats but if I visit a friend with a cat I have to take an antihistimine. If one decides to ban pets what about perfume & cologne. I have less sensitivity to pets but perfumes can make it very hard to breathe. What about people who clearly have colds? Is is fair to let them board the plane if they are going to make many ill? Shouldn't they wear masks so that they don't infect others?! Where do you stop in your restrictions??? Individuals can drive or take the bus, or a train, or a ship...or stay home.

It is more than just an allergy to animals. Animals collect pollen and other allergans in their coats that can cause severe reactions in airline passengers. I dread being around animals on a plane because of the allergic responses that I get from some of these flea bags. Then there are the transmissable diseases. These animals and their inconsiderate owners should both be shipped in the cargo hold.

I am allergic to rude people, and they let them on the flights. Maybe I should sue the airlines for pain and suffering?

What about those of us who have very small pets who would not do well in cargo due to heat, cold, moisture etc? Do we not have the right to take a plane ride? I would much rather sit next to a poodle than a screaming 6 month old any day. Also, how do you live in a world without any contaminants? Do you walk down the street in a space suit? What about your colleague's perfume or your brother in law's smoke filled clothing? Don't blame your problems on those of us who love our pets and would rather be with them than with whining humans.

"It is more than just an allergy to animals. Animals collect pollen and other allergans in their coats that can cause severe reactions in airline passengers. I dread being around animals on a plane because of the allergic responses that I get from some of these flea bags. Then there are the transmissable diseases. These animals and their inconsiderate owners should both be shipped in the cargo hold.

Posted by: john, valencia | February 17, 2010 at 07:25 AM"

What's a "transmissable" disease?? I'm allergic to fools, but the airlines allow them on board every flight. Hopefully, foolishness isn't "transmissable".

Pets die in the cargo hold. It's cruel to stuff them in there with the luggage. Show some compassion. If a pet travels in the cabin, the owner must show proof of all vaccinations. No one's going to catch rabies from a dog riding in the cabin.

Be reasonable, people.

We Americans have an unnatural attachment to our pets. It is sad how many of you consider your pets "part of your family". They are just animals, get over it. They don't belong in the main cabin with the rest of us. I travel extensively for work and I noticed people bringing pets on board all the time, it is more common than you think. Many times the pets are in small bags so most people wouldn't even notice them, but they are there.

I don't have any allergies, so they didn't affect me in that way, but it just annoys me that they are allowed in the main cabin. The animals are just fine being placed in cargo, that is where they belong. You see this things everywhere nowadays, malls, stores, etc. It is so annoying, just leave them home people.

People are allergic to dander, which is in pet owner's clothes, so pet owners must either get naked or decontaminate. Also many people are allergic to perfumes so we have to stop 'nice smelling' people from flying. If you're highly allergic to anything, take allergy meds that cover the several hours of flight, and carry those meds around with you, it's a world filled with all kinds of stuff floating around.

Can't you find something more important to write about? We are lucky to have pets and let these allergic folks take an allergy pill. The dog is in a case and not allowed to come out. It would be very difficult for someone to feel an allergic reaction.

Despite some individual's attempts to downplay or trivialize the subject at hand, allergies are a serious health issue, and people who have them aren't going to go away. While it is true that many allergic people do experience some relief with an antihistamine, those for whom animal proteins (found in the fur, dander, saliva and urine) pose serious respiratory risks (i.e. death) have no option other than avoidance. Telling them to "take a pill and get over it" is irrelevant and insensitive, not to mention willfully ignorant.

No one is telling pet owners that they are not allowed to have a dog or cat. But allowing pets in enclosed public spaces--particularly enclosed public spaces with notoriously poor air-circulation, such as airplane cabins--is an issue that puts some people's lives at risk.

For those who are genuinely interested in learning more, the Champaign County Humane Society debunks some of the myths about pet allergies: http://www.cuhumane.org/topics/allergy.html

And this is what the Mayo Clinic has to say: http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/pet-allergy/DS00859



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