As a dog owner, traveling with Cotton can sometimes be a bit of a hassle. While he goes with me nearly everywhere around the city, visiting family in Ohio or friends in other states presents a challenge. Do I leave him at home with with my roommate or take him along for the vacation? The majority of the time he comes along with me, and I end up driving. I readily admit I have a healthy paranoia of him traveling in the cargo hold of a plane, and stories like that of a couple years ago where an airline lost a passenger's German Shepherd only reinforce that belief. Depending on which airline you've flown and where you were going, you may have encountered another passenger who actually had a small pet with them in the cabin. While this is not common, it can present some problems for allergy sufferers. However, if you are flying a Canadian airline certain flights now ban cats in the cabin.
_Ruling on Thursday, the Canadian Transportation Agency has decided to ban cats on certain flights if a passenger with a cat allergy is aboard. The ruling applies to Dash 8-100/300. This smaller aircraft was the focal point of the ruling for two reasons. First, it is smaller than most of the other jumbo jets or airliners that fly commercially in Canada. Secondly, as such, it lacks the ventilation system that larger jets have to effectively filter dander from the cabin air. And on larger airliners, they can create a buffer zone of a few rows of seats to further limit the potential for contact.
_Driving the decision was weighing the rights of a person with a cat allergy disability versus the desire for someone to travel with their cat in the cabin. (Allergic People = 1, Cats = 0) The ruling doesn't completely leave cat owners in the dark. First, the cargo hold (with the cat in a carrier) is still an option. If that won't fly (bad pun, I know!), the airline can accommodate the cat owner with a comparable flight within a specified time period.
_You may be asking, ‘What about travel on American airlines?’ Well, stateside, the FAA rules leave more of the responsibility to the individual. Some airlines accommodate cats in the cabin while others forbid it. The only caveat to that is service animals. They are not considered pets and, by law, MUST be accommodated in the cabin, without a crate or container. For allergy sufferers who are flying stateside but want to avoid dander, look for specific airlines that ban pets in the cabin. And it is always a good idea to bring a mask along just in case you are allergic to any potential service animals that may be on the flight. For additional filtration in the cabin you can also try a Plane Clean Air, airplane filter.
_If you are planning on traveling with a pet, you can get a quick run down of some pet related FAQ's from the FAA's site here. Safe travels!
_Author: Kevin Gilmore