A woman with a life-threatening animal allergy was dragged off a flight — here’s what you need to know about flying with pets

by | Sep 29, 2017 | Health - Allergies | 0 comments

The INSIDER Summary:

  • 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.

An 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 not allowed to deny a passenger transportation...

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