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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