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Transport authority to examine airline pet policies

Feb. 26, 2010, Ottawa – People with pet allergies may soon breathe a sigh of relief as Canada's transport authority examines the pet policies of the country's biggest airlines.


February 26, 2010
By Melissa Damota

Feb. 26, 2010, Ottawa – People with pet allergies may soon breathe a sigh of relief as Canada's transport authority examines the pet policies of the country's biggest airlines.

In a decision released Thursday, the Canadian Transportation Agency says three people who complained about allergies to cats can be considered persons with disabilities.

However, the agency hasn't outright banished small pets from Air Canada, Air Canada Jazz and WestJet flights.

Instead, it will review the airlines' policies and determine how to deal with the allergy issue.

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The agency has also asked the airlines to come up with alternative suggestions for accommodating people who are effectively
disabled by their allergies to small animals.

An editorial published last week in the Canadian Medical Association Journal argued that airline passengers with pet allergies should not be forced to share cabin space with dogs and cats.

Federal regulations require the airlines to allow guide dogs or other service animals to travel in passenger cabins, but that
doesn't include regular household pets.

Air Canada stopped allowing pets in passenger cabins in September 2006, but reversed its position last summer after facing a barrage of criticism from pet owners.

Calgary-based Westjet allows small dogs, cats, birds or rabbits to travel in its aircraft.