Pets On A Plane: Is This Seat Taken?

Dander is up as pets battle allergies for a spot on the plane

By Jennifer Grant

Whose rights are right?

Bernadette Dean, a Nunavut woman with a severe cat allergy, was checking onto a flight from Winnipeg to home when she noted two cat carriers about to board.  When she described her severe reaction to cats (swelling of the face and difficulty breathing), Dean was advised that she should rebook her flight.  As she was unable to afford another night at the hotel, Dean dosed up on allergy medication and finished check in. She, and the cats, all made it home alive.

It is exactly this sort of scenario that has passenger dander up:  Do pets have the same rights as humans when traveling?

It’s all about perspective.

Well, that depends on how you look at it.  And by “how you look at it,” I mean how skilled you are in applying unbiased perspective to your life experiences.

Since the enactment of the Air Carrier Access Act of 1986, service animals and emotional support animals (ESA) have been given free, non-crated access to the cabin in order to assist the human they are supposed to be, well, assisting.  In addition, you can book your pet into the cabin, within a carrier, provided they are under 10kg/22lb. And while numbers vary, most airlines allow 2 to 4 pet bookings per flight (so reserve early).  Even though your pet will not be taking up an actual seat, there is an additional cost of approximately $100 each way.

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