Should Pets Be Allowed On Airplanes
Allergists are hotly debating should animals be allowed to fly in the cabin of airplanes, allergists are hotly debating this issue, said Michael B. Foggs, chief of allergy and immunology for Advocate Health Care.
Almost all major airlines allow pets in the cabin, provided customers meet certain requirements. This can be problematic for people with allergies to animal dander, said Foggs.
Even if pets aren’t traveling in the cabin, passengers can be exposed to animal dander because other people carry the allergens on board on their clothes. It’s possible to reduce exposure by asking the airline if anyone is traveling with a pet.
There can also be a cumulative effect. An airplane may fly five flights a day for 30 consecutive days before the planes are thoroughly sanitized. “If someone gets on the plane on the 29th day, there’s animal dander stuck on the walls and absorbed in the cushion of the seats,” said Foggs, who said his colleagues at the American College of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology are informally discussing the benefits and disadvantages of bringing warm-blooded creatures into airplanes.
Pet owners, on the other hand, pointed out that they have few alternatives when it comes to transporting their animals, whether for a long vacation or a cross-country move. And banning pets because of allergy sufferers, they argue, is a slippery slope. “If airlines are going to start insisting on pet-free flights because of a few hothouse flowers complaining about the possibility of being annoyed by allergies, can they also start banning people with colds?”
If airlines are going to start insisting on pet-free flights because of a few hothouse flowers complaining about the possibility of being annoyed by allergies, can they also start banning people with colds?
What’s wrong with putting pets in cargo? Even a former airline employee said he would not trust an airline with safely transporting his pets as checked luggage. “Knowing what I do about conditions on the ramp and in the baggage compartment, I would never transport my dog by air, no matter what the season,” he said.
A thorough scientific analysis hasn’t been done so the extent of the problem isn’t clear. Based on feedback from patients the symptoms can be induced as a result of airborne animal protein even though the animal isn’t in the cabin.”
A frequent traveler who has animal dander allergy should see an allergist and might want to consider allergy shot desensitization.