Miércoles, 13 de diciembre 2017
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A woman with a life-threatening animal allergy was dragged off a flight — here's what you need to know about flying with animals

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southwest airlines A woman was forcibly removed from a Southwest plane after announcing her severe pet allergies. Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images

El Resumen del experto:

  • A woman was forcibly removed from a Southwest Airlines flight with service dogs onboard on Tuesday after she complained she had a severe pet allergy and refused to deplane.
  • If you’re traveling with a service dog or emotional support animal, you may be required to bring documentation.
  • If you have a pet allergy, your best bet is to call your airline to try to sit as far away from any service animals as possible.
  • Either way, check your airline’s policy for the rules before your flight.

Un alarming video has surfaced this week featuring a woman being forcibly dragged off a Southwest Airlines flight at the Baltimore-Washington International Airport.

The woman in the video complained that she had a life-threatening pet allergy after she was seated near two dogs, one of which was a therapy animal. She was asked to show medical documentation, as per Southwest Airlines policy, and was unable to do so.

After a brief altercation, law enforcement became involved and Daulatzai was removed from the plane. She now faces disorderly conduct and obstruction of law enforcement charges.

If you suffer from severe pet allergies or — on the other side of the coin — require the companionship of a service animal with an allergy sufferer onboard, what happens? Which passenger’s needs are attended to first?

Listed below are your legal federal rights as a passenger, as well as airline-specific policies related to this traveling conundrum.

What to do if you’re traveling with a service or therapy dog

If you are traveling with a service, therapy, or emotional support animal, your rights are protected under the Air Carrier Access Act under which “U.S. [airline] carriers are required to transport all service animals except unusual animals.”

  • If you’re traveling with a service animal: you are not required by carriers to produce documentation identifying the dog’s credentials.
  • If you are traveling with a therapy or emotional support animal: airline carriers may require you to provide the following documentation: doctor’s proof that you have a physical or mental disability, that you need a support animal, and a copy of the doctor’s professional license.

Note that most airlines will request that you give them 48 hours notice before your flight if you are bringing a service animal onboard, and and that you may need to check in an hour before other passengers.

Carriers are no allowed to deny a passenger transportation if his or her service animal is denied. But they have the right to kick you off the plane if your animal is “acting in an aggressive manner.”

What to do if you you are traveling and have severe pet allergies

The Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America suggests that you call your airline beforehand, explain your medical condition, and ask for the airline’s policies.

The Federal Aviation Administration federal policy suggests: “You can reduce the chance that there will be an animal in the cabin on your flight. You can fly on an airline that does not allow pets in the cabin. You can ask the reservations agent for your airline if another passenger on the same flight has made reservations to travel with a pet.”

However, the FAA warns that airlines are required to be compliant with Department of Transportation regulations that legally allow any number of service animals onboard.

These are the service animal and allergy policies of major airlines:

Southwest Airlines

Southwest Airlines official policy states that Southwest is required “by law” to transport assistance and service animals, and states that they do not require a passenger traveling with a service animal to inform them ahead of time. However, they said they will try to seat the allergy sufferer away from the animal if given enough notice.

A Southwest Airlines told INSIDER: “If a customer states that their allergy can be life threatening, we require a medical certificate from the customer’s physician that is dated within ten days of the scheduled date of the customer’s initial departing flight. The medical certificate must state that the customer is capable of completing the flight safely, without requiring extraordinary medical assistance during the flight even if there is animal dander in the aircraft cabin.”

aerolíneas americanas

American Airlines’ service animal policy states: “They must fit on your lap, at your feet, or under the seat, and cannot block the aisle. For security reasons, you won’t be able to sit in an exit row when traveling with your service or emotional support animal.”

And if you have an animal allergy? “We work with the passengers, and work to separate them on the aircraft,” American Airlines representative Ross Feinstein said. “If a passenger doesn’t feel comfortable flying, we will re-book them on the next available flight.”

Delta Airlines

Delta Airlines does not have a specific pet allergy policy available on their website, but in regards to service animals, states: “There is no fee to transport a service or emotional support animal on Delta’s domestic system and many of our international destinations. Documentation is not required for service animals; however, behavior must be consistent with animals in work mode.”

United Airlines

United Airlines does not have a stated pet allergy policy on their website either. However, in regards to service animals documentation is not required for trained service animals, unless on international flights. Their policy regarding emotional support or therapy animals requires that customers provide United Airlines with minimum 48 hours-notice.

“An animal should sit at the customer’s feet without protruding into the aisles to comply with safety regulations,” the policy on therapy and support animals reads. “Customers may elect to use an approved in-cabin kennel for smaller animals. Exit row seating is prohibited.”

Know your rights, but be prepared

Whether you are severely allergic to dogs or require the companionship of a service or therapy dog, the best policy to play it safe is to inform your airline as far ahead of time as possible, and ask as many questions as you can before you get on the plane.

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