If you’re allergic to animals (and particularly if you’re allergic to dogs), the rise in service animals on planes can be a real problem. What can you do to make yourself safer and/or more comfortable?
In a story for Travel + Leisure, Claire Trageser writes that the first thing to do is alert your airline in advance. “Airlines do tell passengers with severe allergies to contact them before the flight,” she says, “and ask not to be seated near another passenger traveling with a pet.” For starters, staff may attempt to separate you and any animal flying on the same plane as you. An American Airlines spokesman quoted in the story explains that “if a customer is allergic, the airline will ‘separate the customer with the allergy as far apart as possible from the customer with the cabin pet.'” And “‘if this is not available or unacceptable to the customer with the allergy,'” he says, AA “‘will attempt to rebook the passenger with the allergy on a later American Airlines flight.'”
JetBlue employs a similar policy, according to a spokesperson, as does Southwest. (An interesting note here is that Southwest “allows a maximum of six pets to be booked on one flight,” a number that is apparently rarely reached.) Ultimately, different airlines will handle the information in different ways, but giving them more time to accommodate you is bound to be a good idea.
On the other side of things, if you need to fly with an emotional support animal, don’t forget that you’ll need to provide a legitimate prescription letter from a medical professional (see more here). And as written here, it will probably make sense to contact your airline in advance to ensure that you have everything covered before you get to the airport. As an added bonus, the airline will be able to note that information in case anyone booked on your flight has a pet allergy.
- How to Fly More Comfortably If You Have Pet Allergies
- A Great Free App for Travelers With Food Allergies
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