The Rights of Pet Allergy Sufferers when Traveling on Airplanes

This is an interesting article on travelers who are allergic to pets and their rights to comfort when traveling in the cabin of an airplane. Click here to see the article . The author makes a good point about passenger rights when it comes to animals not traveling in a carrier such as service animals or emotional support animals.

The article did not mention the concessions that Air Canada has made for folks that are allergic to pets. This airline address the issue at the time of reservations, not when the aircraft is ready for take off. Air Canada will ban dogs or cats on planes without HEPA filters when a passenger with an allergy to dogs or cats is on board. If the dog is a service animal, priority will be given to the first reservation made. On planes with HEPA filters, a five row buffer zone between a pet and the passenger with allergies will be established in the aircraft.

With the increase of animals traveling in the cabin, those who cannot be exposed to pet allergens should work with the airlines at the time of reservation to ensure they are not seated in close proximity to animals. This is an issue that may surface over time as the airlines try to accommodate those passengers on both sides of the fence.


The Rights of Pet Allergy Sufferers when Traveling on Airplanes — 120 Comments

  1. I have two ESA cats. I’m a bit saddened by the amount of people who seem to think me having these cats (and calling them pets) is a lifestyle choice, implying that my disability is a choice and I am choosing to burden allergy sufferers. The suggestion of people faking ESA’s has already been made. Once that has happened, it’s pretty much a dead end conversation from there. I can’t change your mind. However what I can say is that I didn’t choose to have a debilitating disorder that, if I didn’t have these cats, would leave me with nothing left to live for in this world. I am extremely suicidal and have lived on my own to finish college. It hasn’t been a joke, and if it weren’t for my cats I wouldn’t have made it this far. Today I am moving across the country and I need to take my cats with me. I went through the necessary channels (got several notes from my psychiatrist) and let the airline know months in advance of my reservation and requirements. I am truly sorry to those who suffer from allergies. However, some of us need to travel with our support animals. The risk of losing a pet in cargo is quite low, perhaps below 5% but that’s a risk I’m not willing to take. I’ve read horror stories about folks who have had their pets lost, and as someone with a legitimate psychiatric condition, it would not only cause me severe distress to know I’m putting my loved ones at risk like that (to the point where I would experience severe panic, stomach upset, and unrest the whole flight) but if my support animals were lost, I’d no doubt have no reason to live. Try to have some empathy. I have no way of knowing who has allergies. Try to reach out and communicate with folks and come to an understanding rather than say “I should take precedence. Memememe!!!” People who don’t have disabilities have no clue what we go through, let’s not use the same thought process against each other now.

  2. I recently flew on American Airlines from Dallas to Seattle. There were a large number of dogs on the airline. I am deathly allergic. Flight attendants offered to move me. That works like having a non-peeing section in the pool. What people don’t realize is that pet dander is so small it becomes airborn. Wearing a mask is not going to work because dander enters bodies through the pores. I now have a severe case of allergenic pneumonitis that will take weeks of steroids to recover from and a serious episode of related tachycardia. I’ve had it all documented by my physician and am going to seek legal action against the airline. Worse, pet dander doesn’t go away when the pet does and it has a half life. This is a serious public health issue. It’s time to be the squeaky wheel and let the airline world know that they’re going to need a separate section for pets that is enclosed and has a separate ventilation system or designate no pet flights.

  3. I have on MORE than one occasion specifically asked the gate agents to inform me if someone has a severe pet allergy when I take my ESA on a flight. I travel weekly for work, and when my husband died suddenly, and violently in front of me from a reaction to prescription medication, taking a bunch of prescription medication for the PTSD associated with it was not an option for me. While I travel with a dog every week, I still view it as a privlege not a right and I’m sensitive to others that paid good money to be on that flight. I honestly feel that those with allergies should have the right of way when it comes to these situations. I have voluntarily chosen to take another flight because of someone with allergies because it’s my choice to chose an ESA over medication, it’s not their choice to have to deal with it. And trust me, people who abuse the ESA system are sick and are absolutely despised by those of us who have legitimate issues. Long story short, even as someone who flys with an ESA every week, I feel the system is backwards. I shouldn’t have to beg the airline staff to inform me so I can be reaccomodated before someone with allergies has to change their plans, it should be the rule. Period.

  4. I notified the airline that I am allergic to dogs for my upcoming flight. In light of recent events I also got documentation from my allergist /immunologist that canine dander triggers my asthma. The airline has already called to reseat me,saying that there is a dog in my row.

    Hopefully this will work out. I don’t want to make a scene, but it is, as someone said, hard to breathe through a coffee straw or worse. I do my part with inhalers, antihistamines and carry N-95 masks.

    I wouldn’t mind too much being bumped for a genuine service dog, but for pets and ESA’s it seems genuinely a violation of human rights. Of course it’s devastating to be bumped and have to miss a family member’s funeral. I know a gal who has severe disabilities and has a service dog. She always checks the dog because she cares about other people’s needs. She relies on her human companion to help during the flight. To her and to those with her thoughtfulness, I am grateful.

    The air carrier access act that allows ESA,s needs to be reworked.

  5. If the airlines made it a policy that individuals traveling with emotional support animals – dogs and cats – must sit in the last two rows of the plane and NOT in the bulkhead, you would see a dramatic reduction in the number of animals on board planes. I was recently on a five hour flight from Hawaii with a woman who brought her dog and placed it on the meal tray. I informed the crew that I had an allergy and they offered me a seat next to the toilet. Why did I need to move. Where are my rights? This woman openly admitted she got the certificate on-line and just did not want to place her dog in the belly of the plane.

  6. I completely agree with Kathie and Courtney. The airlines need to offer flights without pets for passengers with allergies.I also strongly agree that we need to file a class action suit against the airlines. They have taken away the rights of MANY passengers with allergies.I can no longer fly. The airport and planes look like a zoo! There are so many animals. It is out of control because people are abusing this. Dr’s. are issuing these certificates without warrant. I have met people who laugh and say Oh, I don’t really need a ESA but it’s so easy to get. I also find that people DO NOT UNDERSTAND THE URGENCY of people with allergies.
    I also was born with asthma. It is not simply sneezing and getting watery eyes. I WILL DIE within 30 minutes.For people with asthma, our airways swell and close up and you die of suffogation! I would not even have time for a emergency landing, What I find so pathetic and sad is these pet owners without any compassion, such as TALKING APES. Get over it. Take a pill! A Amicron stated, maybe if you saw a child blue in the face, dying in front of you, you would learn compassion and realize the urgency of this matter. What I am also seeing it that the people with allergies who are suffering are the ones looking for a solution and only asking for a alternative to secure our rights as well and allow us to fly. It is the people with pets who are not seeing another view point ans saying, ” I need to have my baby with me”. And telling sufferers, take a pill. It’s very sad. AGAIN, WE NEED TO FILE AGAINST THE AIRLINES to regain our rights.

  7. This is INSANE!! Since when are animals allowed in cabins????? It was always in the below luggage compartment! WTF?? ALLERGIC PASSENGERS’S RIGHTS TO CLEAN AIR ARE BEING VIOLATED!!! Allergic people can DIE because of stupid snowflakes! ANIMALS DO NOT BELONG IN A CABIN WITH HUMANS!!! At the very least what they could do is have special flights, one per week, for idiot snowflakes and their beasts. DOWN WITH LIBTARD SNOWFLAKES AND THEIR IDIOTIC “feelings”!

  8. For some, being in the same room with an animal is like someone pointing a gun at their head. Those that don’t suffer or have an immediate relative that suffers, don’t get it. Until you have had to look at the blue face of your child that can’t breath, you won’t get it. If I could give him a pill(@TalkingApes) and have all of this go away I would. The hardest thing about being a parent is watching them suffer and struggle and not being able to do anything about it. He was born with this. It is not his choice – in fact, he would like nothing more than to snuggle up with a dog and go to sleep. But doing this would cause him to die. If you want to know what it is like, close your lips around a coffee straw and breath through nothing but that for an hour. Let me know how you feel at the end and how long you were able to not think about breathing. Now what if this feeling did not go away? There is no way to “deal with” an allergy and asthma disability (which actually is covered under the ADA). How does anyone get to decide that one disability takes precedence over another. I would LOVE to support animal-free flights. I would even pay extra for it, although I shouldn’t have to.

  9. Oh for the gods sake will you all just stop already about your “allergies”?? Take a damn pill and shut the hell up. Most of it is all in your heads anyway. You repeatedly tell yourself that you’re going to have a reaction – guess what? You’re going to have a reaction guaranteed.

  10. A few weeks ago I went to Whistler BC and checked into a high end hotel for a relaxing getaway with my family. As I was waiting to register, I noticed at least 5 large dogs in the lobby. My stress level went up five notches. I also noticed water bowls scattered around the lobby, and hotel staff handing out dog biscuits.

    When it was our turn to check in we informed the concierge that we had severe pet allergies and requested they guarantee a pet free room. He blanched and scrambled to try to come up with a solution.

    We can’t go to people’s homes because so many have pets (and no amount of vacuuming is going
    to solve the problem. Those without severe allergies rarely understand)

    We find it challenging to fly because of animals in cabins and for all the reasons outlined above Now fancy hotels are catering to pets.
    Where I live there are 2000plus homeless people in spitting distance from numerous doggie daycares, pet bakeries and pet clothing stores. Where are our priorities?

    Airlines stopped serving peanuts on flight due to the danger to passengers with anaphylactic allergies. Why can’t they stop allowing pets on planes for the same reason?

  11. People are born with pet allergies; it is not a lifestyle choice that they make. It is a health issue (and for some a life threatening one) and not something they can change. So why are they inconvenienced and put in a harmful situation when it comes to airline travel? Allergy suffers are the ones shuffled around & removed from their flights, meanwhile the pets & owners go on their merry way. The ADA also protects people with allergies, although that seems to be a little known or enforced fact. I have had many pets in my lifetime, but I would never dream of forcing them on anyone, especially in the close confines of an airplane. And I don’t appreciate someone else’s pets invading my space. Advocacy is desperately needed on this.

  12. it would be good to travel with pets and not with the people who already comment. some people like myself can’t leave my dog at home she only know her family us and because you never had a pet you complain here. it would be perfect to travel without all the annoying complaining people. animals are far better and nicer in life. animals are the same as humans have feelings, miss their family . so yes we will take our pets with us and we want more rights for them to travel in a plane and not as cargo they have the same mentality as a kid so i want my dog in the cabin. they aren’t objects so why should they be treated like things that aren’t alive. most people love dogs and the people who don’t are the lesser so why should we as dog lovers be ignored for the minority of people

  13. I was removed from a JetBlue flight because of a pet and my allergy. I asked the gate agent if pets were near me, gave my seat info. I was told “no pets on onboard”. Then a person with pet moved into seat next to me. I got up, raised my hand to inform flight attendant. I moved out of the row to avoid getting the hives, then the owner moved to a different row and I returned to my seat. Next thing I know I am being told to get off flight. This situation was escalated by staff, I was left stranded and banned from flying out later. I had to make other flight arrangements. People should be accommodated before pets and gate agents should pay attention to information given them to avoid all situations.

  14. Just took a flight that was delayed on the runway due to pets. People have allergies. They moved the dog owners, then the cat owners. The dogs ended up 3 rows away and there was lots of sneezing from inconvenienced travelers. We were already so late taking off that we had no choice but to accept them. They also smelled. I for one don’t appreciate my travel days on vacations being ruined by selfish pet owners. Why should I suffer congestion and headaches? Leave them home

  15. Kathie that has totally been what i’ve been preaching to anyone and everyone! Make 1 – 2 flights a week pet free, puts those of us with allergies inconvenienced more than those with the pets! We need a lobby group in D.C. that can help. Thoughts?

  16. i cannot go to my three sons houses as they all have cats and I have a terrible allergy which causes a whole day of agony if I touch anything, so I stay away to alleviate any problems..Now I travel to mexico several times a year and have to worry about some inconsiderate passenger who claims to need an animal to comfort themselves. I personally know one of my relatives who convinces her doctor to say she needs this and all the while laughed because it was nothing more than a way for her to travel without putting the thing into a kennel..Why should I have to carry an epipen when I dont use one any other time so people who scam this and people who need to be comforted by a pet can make my life and the lives of others who feel violated by this pracice. Either have them drive in their own car, or charter a flight privately…If they cant survive without the pet, how the heck are they getting on an airplane anyway…NUT JOBS with no regard for others…..And are the arilines checking the legal documentation which states that the prescription for the pet needs to be within one year and also that the disease must be a mental disorder and documented in the DSM…

  17. A simple solution would be to offer flights without pets. As a person with severe asthma to animal dander why should I become ill on a flight with pets? It is time for a class action suit against airlines who put passengers in danger. Be fair and offer this option. Let people who want to fly with their pets have access to certain flights and those of us who are highly allergic have access to pet free flights. Who is in agreement?

  18. Totally agree with Candy above. Pets are not polite – they pee when they want, drool when they need to, stare at you, etc. Not their fault of course, they are animals. I am not a fan. Plane rides used to be for people to relax, be quiet, and not be bothered. Pets need to return home or go below!

  19. Wow, @Tony: ‘get over it’? I’m guessing you’ve never had an asthma attack; or maybe you don’t breathe? Teach me how not to breathe and I won’t say a word about, say, the woman who had a cat next to me on a flight. People like you are ignorant and obviously have no compassion for allergy sufferers. I love dogs (though am allergic to some), but cats I am highly allergic to. I hope I never get on a flight with you, because I have a feeling I would be allergic to you.

  20. I really don’t like seeing animals sit on peoples laps on airlines. Many good folk simply pretend it doesn’t bother them and downplay their true feelings while being forced to sit beside your dog that keeps starring at them hoping for a tickle or food scrap. This has ruined air travel for me since I have lost my rights to what used to be relative peace in the sky. Why can’t you keep your dogs head and butt out of my tiny morsel of space? You people seem offended if we don’t all love your pup – you don’t care that we might be offended, since we don’t register in your self-centered little bubble.

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