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Cats Can Stay in Plane Cabins, CTA Rules

Three Canadians who filed complaints to the Canadian Transportation Agency about cats on airplanes are not happy with the outcome.

The CTA deemed Sarah Daviau, David Spence and Katherine Covell disabled because of their cat allergies in regards to air travel and had ordered major carriers Air Canada and WestJet to create policies that would remove barriers to travel for people with severe cat allergies.

But rather than ban cats in plane cabins outright, as the complainants requested, the CTA has given the airlines the option to create a five-row separation or buffer zone between the cat and the allergic passenger, as well as having airplanes equipped with specialized air filters.

While not final until approved by the CTA, WestJet’s proposed policy opts for that buffer zone. The airline says a five-row separation between an allergic person and a cat will be guaranteed with a minimum of 48 hours’ notice. In Air Canada’s proposal, a buffer zone will also be offered on most aircraft, which have the required type of air filter.

On Air Canada’s regional flights, where the planes do not have the appropriate filters, booking will be on a first-come, first-served basis for people with cats and those who are allergic to them.

For Covell, it just isn’t enough. “I’m confused by the idea that with the five-row barrier and filters, everything is going to be OK,” she says.

Next: Balancing customer demands

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Allergic Living acknowledges the assistance of the OMDC Magazine Fund, an initative of the Ontario Media Development Cooperation.