Is Air Canada Barking Up The Wrong Tree?

Posted on: Sun, 12/31/2006 - 12:13pm
2BusyBoys's picture
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Joined: 09/03/2004 - 09:00

[url="http://www.aero-news.net/index.cfm?ContentBlockID=472ddd8d-b4d3-429f-b10..."]http://www.aero-news.net/index.cfm?ContentBlockID=472ddd8d-b4d3-429f-b10...
Sun, 31 Dec '06

Announces Controversial Cabin Pet Ban
In what's being touted as a major victory for human allergy sufferers, Air Canada this fall banned all animals -- with the exception of service animals -- from aircraft cabins, with the justification that such animals could trigger allergy attacks in susceptible passengers. The airline contends that offering an allergen-free environment is about being fair to all customers.

Complaints from allergy sufferer Joanne Silver led the Canadian Society of Allergy Immunologists to write the president of Air Canada last year, requesting the ban, according to CBS News.

Silver says she and her children survived a terrifying flight two years ago, thanks to a cat underneath the seat in front of her on a flight to Saskatoon.

"I started to sneeze and get itchy eyes and my throat seized up," Silver recalled. A passenger across the aisle had his cat on his lap. "I said, 'Oh no, I'm going to die.'"

Vancouver Allergist Dr. Donald Stark pushed for the changes after boarding a flight to Vancouver along side a pet he is allergic to.

"Usually when an attack starts -- even if the cat or animal is moved elsewhere in the plane -- we suspect the circulation will transfer that animal protein dander throughout the whole plane... that's a problem and once the attack starts we know it will become more severe."

According to Stark, "We have to give priority to human health over animal health."

Stark is no stranger to allergies. He also led the way to ending the serving of peanuts on a now-defunct Canadian carrier based on a study which detected peanut dust in cabin air filters; peanuts are an allergen for some people. Some US carriers also opt for pretzels over peanuts.

Pet lovers aren't wagging their tails about this most recent missive, however, and the bloggers have been busy since the announcement was made in September.

Said "bgoluboff" on the Best Friends News Web site, "...they do not ban perfumes or peanut butter and other allergens that can be even more threatening to allergic people. This is a typical example of a failing company caving in to the minute few "squeaky wheels" there always are, in a desperate attempt to improve business..."

Many sites urge pet owners to write, e-mail or otherwise contact Air Canada with their displeasure.

One alternative, according to the Canadian Kennel Club, is WestJet -- whose pet travel regulations allow pets in the passenger cabin on all domestic and most trans-border flights.

Pet lovers say the alternative to cabin flight, the cargo hold, is stressful, dangerous, and even deadly for dogs and cats, a view that airlines dispute.

According to reports that airlines must file with the US Department of Transportation, however, in the first 10 months of 2006, 41 pets were lost, injured, or killed while being transported by air in the US. Of those, 23 animals, most elderly or with health problems, died. Statistics were not broken down by cabin travel versus cargo hold transport.

US airlines collectively fly hundreds of thousands of animals in cargo holds each year, although neither the Air Transport Association (ATA) nor the Transportation Department has current totals.

The senior vice president for government affairs and public policy at the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, Lisa Weisberg, noted airlines' reports to the federal agency include only family-owned pets, not those shipped commercially. She also said some cargo holds airlines use to ship animals are not temperature-controlled.

Even in the best of conditions, experts agree, flying as cargo can be tough on pets. They are separated from their owners, exposed to strange sights, sounds, and people, and they don't have their regular routines. These stresses, which also can occur in cabin travel, can traumatize a sensitive animal.

"The stress of travel may not kill it," said Bernadine Cruz, a veterinarian in Laguna Hills, CA, "but if it has a cardiac condition, it could make it worse," which could require a trip to an emergency clinic in an unfamiliar city.

For all these reasons, Cruz said, it's best not to take your pet on the plane, especially if it's elderly, in delicate health, or is a short-nosed animal vulnerable to breathing problems under stress or in heat or cold, such as a Persian cat, Boston terrier, bulldog, boxer or pug. In the Transportation Department reports this year, these breeds accounted for most of the deaths.

The solution recommended by many experts, according to the Los Angeles Times, is not to take pets on the plane. Passengers are encouraged to travel by car with Fluffy, board Fido, or leave Rocky at home with a trusted sitter.

Most US and Canadian carriers accept animals in the passenger cabin if they are confined to a carrier small enough to fit under the seat, as well as in the cargo hold.

Exceptions include Southwest Airlines, which doesn't take pets; and US Airways, JetBlue and Harmony Airways, which generally take pets in the cabin but not in the cargo hold. Like Air Canada, other airlines make exceptions for service animals, such as guide dogs.

The ATA offers tips on its website; search for "Air Travel for Your Pet."

As for allergy-prone people, experts suggest they carry antihistamines, inhalers, and other medications on the plane, even if they haven't had an allergy attack in years.

Not surprisingly, Air Canada' s new regulation hasn't inspired a rush of imitators.

Posted on: Mon, 01/01/2007 - 1:22am
Going Nuts's picture
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Joined: 10/04/2001 - 09:00

I can understand how this could be a problem for people with severe dander allergies - the mother of one of my son's friends is so allergic to cats that her son has to change his clothes after he's been to my house.
However, I'd never put my cat in cargo! Been there, done that, and the airline lost my cats for 24 hours. They ended up on the wrong plane despite us paying more to have them "escorted". [img]http://uumor.pair.com/nutalle2/peanutallergy/rolleyes.gif[/img]
Personally, I'd love to see a ban on perfume as well. That stuff just kills me!
Amy

Posted on: Mon, 01/01/2007 - 9:44am
McCobbre's picture
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Joined: 04/16/2005 - 09:00

Hooray for Southwest on this one. And for Air Canada.
Why are people taking animals on the plane??? I've never figured that one out. (Going Nuts--no offense to you personally--I just don't get it.) I've heard of people taking their animals on board in a crate that fits under the seat, and that's too much for me. But on a lap????? That's beyond comprehension.
This is something I have feared. I've never had to deal with it thankfully, but I would have a really bad reaction if a cat were next to me. Of course, I would request/demand another seat--or rather, that the person with the cat move. If I were seated near someone with a service animal, I would request that my seat be changed. Service animal or no, dander is dander, and I could not be near it.
If airlines have to make accomodations for pets, then I would think it best to arrange for a place in the back part of the plane, but the pets would have to make up for the revenue lost from those seats somehow. And that's probably not going to happen.
I also wouldn't want to put my pet in the cargo area. But I couldn't see taking it on an airplane because I know people are allergic to rabbits. It just wouldn't be fair to them.

Posted on: Mon, 01/01/2007 - 11:59pm
perpetually perplexed's picture
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Joined: 02/12/2005 - 09:00

Quote:Originally posted by McCobbre:
[b]Why are people taking animals on the plane??? I've never figured that one out. (Going Nuts--no offense to you personally--I just don't get it.)
I also wouldn't want to put my pet in the cargo area. But I couldn't see taking it on an airplane because I know people are allergic to rabbits. It just wouldn't be fair to them.[/b]
McCobbre,
Sometimes you just can't help taking your pet with you. I have had to do it twice. Not a pleasant experience for the pet or me. I had no other choice. I could not leave it in the apartment while I was gone. Sitters were not available, pet kennels full...etc..both of my regular sitters were also out of town. I had no other choice other than not going to my brother's wedding. And yes, I did start making plans well in advance. (+4 months)
I have seen many people take questionable things on board a plane. I use to travel alot. So many episodes of peanuts and food that I just expect it now. During ONE trip I saw a spare tire, toliet seat and fishing pole make it to the cabin with the passenger.
??
PP

Posted on: Mon, 01/01/2007 - 1:22am
Going Nuts's picture
Offline
Joined: 10/04/2001 - 09:00

I can understand how this could be a problem for people with severe dander allergies - the mother of one of my son's friends is so allergic to cats that her son has to change his clothes after he's been to my house.
However, I'd never put my cat in cargo! Been there, done that, and the airline lost my cats for 24 hours. They ended up on the wrong plane despite us paying more to have them "escorted". [img]http://uumor.pair.com/nutalle2/peanutallergy/rolleyes.gif[/img]
Personally, I'd love to see a ban on perfume as well. That stuff just kills me!
Amy

Posted on: Mon, 01/01/2007 - 9:44am
McCobbre's picture
Offline
Joined: 04/16/2005 - 09:00

Hooray for Southwest on this one. And for Air Canada.
Why are people taking animals on the plane??? I've never figured that one out. (Going Nuts--no offense to you personally--I just don't get it.) I've heard of people taking their animals on board in a crate that fits under the seat, and that's too much for me. But on a lap????? That's beyond comprehension.
This is something I have feared. I've never had to deal with it thankfully, but I would have a really bad reaction if a cat were next to me. Of course, I would request/demand another seat--or rather, that the person with the cat move. If I were seated near someone with a service animal, I would request that my seat be changed. Service animal or no, dander is dander, and I could not be near it.
If airlines have to make accomodations for pets, then I would think it best to arrange for a place in the back part of the plane, but the pets would have to make up for the revenue lost from those seats somehow. And that's probably not going to happen.
I also wouldn't want to put my pet in the cargo area. But I couldn't see taking it on an airplane because I know people are allergic to rabbits. It just wouldn't be fair to them.

Posted on: Mon, 01/01/2007 - 11:59pm
perpetually perplexed's picture
Offline
Joined: 02/12/2005 - 09:00

Quote:Originally posted by McCobbre:
[b]Why are people taking animals on the plane??? I've never figured that one out. (Going Nuts--no offense to you personally--I just don't get it.)
I also wouldn't want to put my pet in the cargo area. But I couldn't see taking it on an airplane because I know people are allergic to rabbits. It just wouldn't be fair to them.[/b]
McCobbre,
Sometimes you just can't help taking your pet with you. I have had to do it twice. Not a pleasant experience for the pet or me. I had no other choice. I could not leave it in the apartment while I was gone. Sitters were not available, pet kennels full...etc..both of my regular sitters were also out of town. I had no other choice other than not going to my brother's wedding. And yes, I did start making plans well in advance. (+4 months)
I have seen many people take questionable things on board a plane. I use to travel alot. So many episodes of peanuts and food that I just expect it now. During ONE trip I saw a spare tire, toliet seat and fishing pole make it to the cabin with the passenger.
??
PP

Posted on: Mon, 01/01/2007 - 1:22am
Going Nuts's picture
Offline
Joined: 10/04/2001 - 09:00

I can understand how this could be a problem for people with severe dander allergies - the mother of one of my son's friends is so allergic to cats that her son has to change his clothes after he's been to my house.
However, I'd never put my cat in cargo! Been there, done that, and the airline lost my cats for 24 hours. They ended up on the wrong plane despite us paying more to have them "escorted". [img]http://uumor.pair.com/nutalle2/peanutallergy/rolleyes.gif[/img]
Personally, I'd love to see a ban on perfume as well. That stuff just kills me!
Amy

Posted on: Mon, 01/01/2007 - 9:44am
McCobbre's picture
Offline
Joined: 04/16/2005 - 09:00

Hooray for Southwest on this one. And for Air Canada.
Why are people taking animals on the plane??? I've never figured that one out. (Going Nuts--no offense to you personally--I just don't get it.) I've heard of people taking their animals on board in a crate that fits under the seat, and that's too much for me. But on a lap????? That's beyond comprehension.
This is something I have feared. I've never had to deal with it thankfully, but I would have a really bad reaction if a cat were next to me. Of course, I would request/demand another seat--or rather, that the person with the cat move. If I were seated near someone with a service animal, I would request that my seat be changed. Service animal or no, dander is dander, and I could not be near it.
If airlines have to make accomodations for pets, then I would think it best to arrange for a place in the back part of the plane, but the pets would have to make up for the revenue lost from those seats somehow. And that's probably not going to happen.
I also wouldn't want to put my pet in the cargo area. But I couldn't see taking it on an airplane because I know people are allergic to rabbits. It just wouldn't be fair to them.

Posted on: Mon, 01/01/2007 - 11:59pm
perpetually perplexed's picture
Offline
Joined: 02/12/2005 - 09:00

Quote:Originally posted by McCobbre:
[b]Why are people taking animals on the plane??? I've never figured that one out. (Going Nuts--no offense to you personally--I just don't get it.)
I also wouldn't want to put my pet in the cargo area. But I couldn't see taking it on an airplane because I know people are allergic to rabbits. It just wouldn't be fair to them.[/b]
McCobbre,
Sometimes you just can't help taking your pet with you. I have had to do it twice. Not a pleasant experience for the pet or me. I had no other choice. I could not leave it in the apartment while I was gone. Sitters were not available, pet kennels full...etc..both of my regular sitters were also out of town. I had no other choice other than not going to my brother's wedding. And yes, I did start making plans well in advance. (+4 months)
I have seen many people take questionable things on board a plane. I use to travel alot. So many episodes of peanuts and food that I just expect it now. During ONE trip I saw a spare tire, toliet seat and fishing pole make it to the cabin with the passenger.
??
PP

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