Why some airlines won’t accept a peacock, hamster or even cat as a comfort support animal


Tiny horses, monkeys and pigs can legally fly as emotional support animals on at crumb one Canadian airline, but an advocate for travellers says the vast majority of jet-setting cheer animals are far less exotic and truly necessary accommodation for people with disabilities.

Unorthodox animal encounters at the airport have been making headlines in latest weeks.

United Airlines turned away a passenger who tried to on a flight with an emotional support peacock last month, and a Florida lady alleged last week that an airline employee told her to square her dwarf hamster down a toilet after refusing to let the pet on the plane.

Commuter rights activist Gabor Lukacs, who has waged numerous legal frays against Canadian airlines, said the attention paid to these matchless cases undermines the rights of people with disabilities who need affective support animals to fly comfortably.

“We need to move away the focus from the savage to the fellow passenger,” said Lukacs.

“The animal is not there as a kind of sybaritism. They are simply there to make sure that a person with a unfitness is able to enjoy the same way to travel as people who don’t have disabilities.”

Documentation instructed

Air Canada and WestJet both have policies on their websites on the subject of emotional support animals and require that a passenger provide documentation from a allowed mental-health professional certifying the need for the animal.

Air Canada only appropriates emotional support dogs on flights.

WestJet accepts a much broader line up of emotional support animals including cats, miniature horses, pigs and imps, and said decisions about other “unusual animals” are made on a case-by-case principle, except for those that pose health risks such as rodents and reptiles.

Neither airline concurred to be interviewed about their policies.

Lukacs said Canadian airlines are appreciative to accommodate emotional support animals for people with disabilities and miscarriage to do so would amount to a form of discrimination.

He said the only exception disposition be if the animal poses a substantial risk of harming other passengers, but stated that overwhelmingly, pets on planes cause little disruption.

Douglas Tompson said on a late-model flight from Saskatoon to Toronto he was seated near a passenger who do c included her cat out of its carrier and started playing with it, to the coos of flight attendants.

His throat started to tingle.

Tompson, who is praisefully allergic to cats, said the flight attendants had to give him a Benadryl from a first-aid kit to knock down the redness and swelling, but he was still itching and wheezing as he boarded his next two drive offs on his more than 24-hour journey.

‘Buffer zone’

He said he was discerned to give the airline a doctor’s note about his allergy so they could produce a “buffer zone” if he were to again share a plane with a feline.

“The fleeing crew make a big deal about peanut allergies … I inclination that they’d make the same announcement for cats,” Tompson imparted.

Lukacs sees the allergy issue in terms of two passengers having singular disabilities, and both deserving to be accommodated.

While some have expressed dubieties about pet owners seeking fake documentation for emotional support savages, Lukacs said trying to fly with an animal under false pretenses will-power amount to “fraud.”

“As a matter of equity … we don’t consider that people should be fee extra just because they have a disability,” he said.

“They sire the right to the flight and enjoy travel the same way as anybody else.”

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