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AAFA Meets With DOT Alongside Other Disability Advocacy Groups to Discuss Service Animal Regulations for Airlines

AAFA Community Services ·
Today, the Asthma and Allergy Foundation (AAFA) met with the Department of Transportation alongside several disability advocacy groups. We discussed service animal regulations and the impact of growing numbers of emotional support animals on airlines. We shared how difficult it is to travel when you have asthma and/or pet dander allergy. We’re working together to ensure people are treated fairly when it comes to disability accommodations—and not privileging one disability type over another.
Blog Post

AAFA Meets With DOT to Advocate for Equal Rights for People With Asthma and Allergies on Planes

AAFA Community Services ·
The Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America (AAFA) met with the Office of the General Counsel of the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT). We spoke with members of their Office of Aviation Enforcement and Proceedings and Consumer Protection Division on behalf of people with asthma and allergies. We shared how critical it is that people with asthma and allergies who have to be on planes with emotional support animals have equal rights.
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Share Your Stories About Animals on Planes and How They Affect People With Asthma and Allergies

AAFA Community Services ·
Has the increase in pets on planes made travel difficult for you or family members with asthma or allergies? Have you had to change travel plans or leave a plane because of animals on your flight? Have you had an asthma attack or severe allergic reaction on a flight because of sharing a cabin with animals? If so, we encourage you to share your story with the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT). They are asking for public comments on pets on planes.
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Re: Share Your Stories About Animals on Planes and How They Affect People With Asthma and Allergies

Shea ·
Thank you for this info and for helping us organize and express ourselves in this matter! I did submit my comment to them. I hope it makes a difference!
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Re: Share Your Stories About Animals on Planes and How They Affect People With Asthma and Allergies

MizWheezie ·
While my heart goes out to people who require "Service Animals" to assist in their every day life, I think there should definitely be some consideration for those of us with severe allergies to animal dander... Being cooped up on a plane (or train) with them for several hours, or even 30-45 minutes, is sheer torture for people like us, unfortunately.
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Re: Share Your Stories About Animals on Planes and How They Affect People With Asthma and Allergies

Melissa G ·
Thank you ladies for taking the time to fill out the survey!
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Re: Share Your Stories About Animals on Planes and How They Affect People With Asthma and Allergies

Allergictoanimals ·
I completed the survey. All, Has anyone been traveling by plane that can recommend a company mask to cover nose and mouth on plane to protect from pet dander? I haven't travelled since early 2015 and hoping to take a trip at the end of this month. Thanks in advance for your help.
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Re: Share Your Stories About Animals on Planes and How They Affect People With Asthma and Allergies

K8sMom2002 ·
Thanks for making your voice heard, AllergictoAnimals! Masks are a favorite topic on our community forums, with several brands favored by different members. Check out this discussion about using masks to help with asthma .
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Re: DOT Proposes New Rules for Animals on Planes

Chinarider10 ·
Hi there Can you please share a link to the DOT proposal so that the public can comment as well. Sent from my iThingy
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Re: DOT Proposes New Rules for Animals on Planes

Kathy P ·
@Chinarider10 - the public comment period is not open yet. We will keep everyone posted when that opens. Meanwhile, you can read the proposed rules (PDF).
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Re: DOT Proposes New Rules for Animals on Planes

Debsie ·
Thank you so much for advocating for asthma/allergy sufferers regarding animals on planes. People with pets do not seem to realize that it is a matter of life or death for an allergy sufferer, like me, to be exposed to pet dander. Please let me know how I may help with this effort. Also, I had to cancel my plans to two family weddings this past year, sadly, because the hotels offering accommodations for the wedding guests, as well as other hotels in the same towns, had "pet friendly"...
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Re: DOT Proposes New Rules for Animals on Planes

Kathy P ·
Thanks for sharing your experience with hotels and other accommodations @Debsie . AAFA continues to educate and raise awareness about the seriousness of asthma and allergies and for advocates for access.
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Re: DOT Proposes New Rules for Animals on Planes

Chinarider10 ·
It says directly at the top how the public can submit comments. What is the AAFA planning to do about this? I believe that the definition of service animal needs to be universal and that "emotional support animals" need to be eliminated. That said, if I can't have anything under my feat upon take off and landing, how is an animal, however well trained, going to react during a true flight emergency?
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Re: DOT Proposes New Rules for Animals on Planes

Melissa G ·
Hi Chinarider10! Welcome to the AAFA forums! Thank you for sharing your comments. We are carefully monitoring this and will have more information coming soon.
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Re: DOT Proposes New Rules for Animals on Planes

Michelle Keen ·
Re: DOT Proposes New Rules for Animals on Planes
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Re: DOT Proposes New Rules for Animals on Planes

SFMG ·
Oh my gosh YES !!! Travelling with Asthma... Animals checked onto planes have "bumped" me off intercontinental flights a number of times (even if I had reserved my ticket weeks or months before the animal owner!), as I don't want to have an acute asthma attack half-way across the Atlantic. I could easily die. To add insult to injury, no compensation has ever been forthcoming from the airline for a hotel when the next flight was the next day..... If airlines require animal owners to submit...
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Re: DOT Proposes New Rules for Animals on Planes

805Native ·
I just want to thank the AAFA for their advocacy regarding the pet dander issue. I have allergic asthma and highly allergic to cat, dog, and horse dander. So much so, that my immunologist prescribed me an EpiPen after my allergy test results were revealed. Also, a few years ago, after being exposed in an airplane cabin to a dog that was shaking and being bounced around on someone's lap, I had to stop flying to the East Coast to avoid the dog dander allergen that triggers my asthma.
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Re: AAFA Meets With DOT to Advocate for Equal Rights for People With Asthma and Allergies on Planes

Shea ·
❤❤❤ Thank you so much! ❤❤❤
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Re: AAFA Meets With DOT to Advocate for Equal Rights for People With Asthma and Allergies on Planes

Dawn Graziano ·
I cannot thank you enough. This is what I have been waiting for. This is why I joined AAFA and became an advocate. Please advise the outcome of the meeting and if there are any follow up meetings scheduled.
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Re: AAFA Meets With DOT to Advocate for Equal Rights for People With Asthma and Allergies on Planes

Melanie Carver ·
Hi @Dawn Graziano , There will be a public comment meeting sometime this fall (date has not been announced). We are preparing for our submission. We will be sharing a survey with our members soon - the information we collect will be shared with DOT. Additionally, we are meeting with the airline industry directly as well. We will keep everyone updated!
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Re: AAFA Meets With DOT to Advocate for Equal Rights for People With Asthma and Allergies on Planes

805Native ·
Wow, I was quite surprised and over joyed to have an advocate for those of us who have allergic asthma triggered by dog and other pet dander. Traveling has become quite difficult the last several years due to the direct contact with allergens that trigger sinus infections and asthma. Thank you so much.
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Re: AAFA Meets With DOT to Advocate for Equal Rights for People With Asthma and Allergies on Planes

Melissa G ·
Welcome to AAFA, 805Native! How long have you been dealing with allergies and asthma?
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Re: AAFA Meets With DOT to Advocate for Equal Rights for People With Asthma and Allergies on Planes

Dawn Graziano ·
Hello to my fellow advocates and sufferers. Let's keep this conversation going. I have been unable to travel by air for the last 4 years due to airline polices regarding service animals and emotional support pets. We must be considered and or rights protected as well. Let's keep the conversation going and hear from more of you that have been affected. Let On Tue, Oct 8, 2019 at 3:26 PM Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America < support@aafa.org> wrote:
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Re: AAFA Meets With DOT to Advocate for Equal Rights for People With Asthma and Allergies on Planes

805Native ·
Thank you, I have been dealing with allergies for a few decades and was diagnosed with asthma about 15 years ago. My allergy/asthma condition has gotten progressively worse the last 10 years.
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Re: AAFA Meets With DOT to Advocate for Equal Rights for People With Asthma and Allergies on Planes

805Native ·
Me too, been unable to fly from the west coast to the east coast since I had a terrible allergy/asthma attack on a plane flight in 2011. The attack was triggered by a dog (dander) in the cabin that was near the on board restroom I has to use.
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Re: AAFA Meets With DOT to Advocate for Equal Rights for People With Asthma and Allergies on Planes

Melissa G ·
@805Native , what are you doing to treat your allergy symptoms?
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Re: AAFA Meets With DOT to Advocate for Equal Rights for People With Asthma and Allergies on Planes

Gaucha ·
Wonderfu! Thank you for advocating for those of us with a & a. I see more emotional support animals and this makes me nervous, especially with regard to planes and similar enclosed, public spaces. I am highly allergic to cats, to the point that my lungs begin to close up after about 2 hours of exposure. I am seeing these animals now in so many places, with no regard for the many people who are allergic to them. There needs to be some safeguard for those of us whose health is threatened...
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Re: AAFA Meets With DOT to Advocate for Equal Rights for People With Asthma and Allergies on Planes

Melissa G ·
Welcome to AAFA Gaucha! Be sure to check out September/October Asthma and Allergy Advocacy Update: Passenger Rights on Planes, Protections in Schools and Access to OTC Medicines .
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Re: Emotional Support Animals on Planes: AAFA Submits Comment to the DOT

Dawn Graziano ·
I have to say that I am very disappointed by the response by AAFA.. It is not enough to simple be "distanced" from an animal on the plane, In addition to the danger of being subjected to animal hair and dander on seats and carpets, these dangers are also circulated through the aircraft ventilation system, thus making distancing ineffective. We are not just in danger from the current flight we are boarding but the multiple, previous flights that have accommodated animals.Planes are being...
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Re: Emotional Support Animals on Planes: AAFA Submits Comment to the DOT

Jenna R. ·
Hi Dawn, I am sorry you were disappointed in our response. We are continuing to work with the DOT as part of a disability working group and agree that all passengers have a right to safe travel. It is incredibly challenging to accommodate multiple disabilities on an aircraft, but we feel that this rule will significantly reduce the fraudulent use of emotional support animals. We will continue to engage with the DOT to ensure equal accommodation for the asthma and allergy community. Best...
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Re: Emotional Support Animals on Planes: AAFA Submits Comment to the DOT

ScttLee ·
I agree with Dawn on the issue. While every side can claim discrimination, possible life threatening issues should come first. I do see far too many people using "emotional support" as just a way to get their pets into stores and other places. Service animals should be registered as such and businesses should be able to legally ask for registration (NOT the reason for the animal). On another note, it would be great if airlines would limit or stop crews from using perfume and other scents.
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Re: Emotional Support Animals on Planes: AAFA Submits Comment to the DOT

Shea ·
Yes, Dawn is right. I know it seems easier to claim distance will help but dog dander is sooooo airborne and light and accumulates. I wouldn't be able to go on a plane with a dog on board.
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Re: Share Your Stories About Animals on Planes and How They Affect People With Asthma and Allergies

LAC ·
Kenneth, It is not sufficient nor helpful for a person with life-threatening and severe dander-sensitive asthma and allergies to merely be moved to a different part of the plane from a dog or other animal. This is no more effective or helpful than moving to another part of a plane away from a person smoking a cigarette. Dander permeates the air and is deadly from any distance. AAFA needs to be advocating aggressively and vehement for our ADA-protected rights. We need access to dander-free...
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Re: Share Your Stories About Animals on Planes and How They Affect People With Asthma and Allergies

LAC ·
My heart also goes out to all the people who can't fly and go into public buildings; the child forced to deplane while adults cheered and jeered at him; the people dragged off planes or forced off planes because dogs are being put before people with asthma, allergies, autism, dog phobias and OCD. We need the federal service dog law to be tighter, with state registries, to not only protect people with legitimate service dogs, such as blind people, but to end this trend of everyone thinking...
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Re: Share Your Stories About Animals on Planes and How They Affect People With Asthma and Allergies

AAFA Community Services ·
@LAC - thank you for sharing your comments with us. We are continuing to work with the organizations involved to advocate for rules that allow all people with disabilities (including asthma and allergies) to be treated fairly and have equal access.
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Re: Share Your Stories About Animals on Planes and How They Affect People With Asthma and Allergies

LAC ·
Thank you for your advocacy-- We need it!
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Re: Share Your Stories About Animals on Planes and How They Affect People With Asthma and Allergies

Shea ·
I agree masks just do not work to stop dander allergy. Mine is skin as well-- I break out in hives, eyes itching, and those reactions cause eosinophils (inflammatory blood cells produced in response to allergen exposure) which cause my entire allergic disease to flare up and causes vasculitis (blood vessel inflammation) and can damage organs (eosinophils surrounded my heart and caused a heart attack at age 28). My disease is one of many allergic diseases involving eosinophils and allergy,...
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Re: DOT Proposes New Rules for Animals on Planes

Hilary H ·
Thank you for bringing attention to this important issue! Is there anything we can do to help advocate? This is a constant stressor for me as I have severe asthma triggered by cat and dog dander and flying in the states (animals aren't allowed in planes in the same way in other countries) has become harrowing for me. Thanks!
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Re: DOT Proposes New Rules for Animals on Planes

Kathy P ·
Hi Hillary H - AAFA has a meeting with the DOT Disability Advocacy Working group coming up at the end of June. We will share any updates after that meeting.
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Re: Emotional Support Animals on Planes: AAFA Submits Comment to the DOT

Hilary H ·
I agree that in terms of disabilities, those that are life-threatening are more serious than, per se, anxiety while flying. I am a tremendously anxious flyer so I empathize greatly with people who'd prefer to fly with their pets for comfort. However, the fact that an animal's hair could literally kill one of the millions of Americans with severe allergic asthma should mean animals on flights should be restricted as much as possible. Service pets for people who are blind or have...
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Re: Emotional Support Animals on Planes: AAFA Submits Comment to the DOT

Dawn Graziano ·
Thank you Hilary for your comments, understanding and support. As you noted, it is done in other countries so this is not an unreasonable request and can be managed.
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Re: DOT Proposes New Rules for Animals on Planes

Shea ·
Thank you for the update! It is very good and should lessen the amount if problems for many, but sadly does not quite allow me to travel yet. At least it is acknowledged that the airlines do not accommodate individuals with dander allergies and asthma, and that the resulting risk to us can be life threatening asthma attacks, worsening of severe chronic conditions that involve multiple vital organs and are also life-threatening, increased need for high-risk medication use with detrimental...
Blog Post

Emotional Support Animals on Planes: AAFA Submits Comment to the DOT

AAFA Community Services ·
Update: On Dec. 2, 2020, the Department of Transportation (DOT) posted their final rule on “ Traveling by Air with Service Animals .” The rule will allow airlines to treat emotional support animals as pets. The DOT acknowledged AAFA’s comments. They said they felt the rule will likely reduce the number of uncrated animals on planes, so that would reduce the number of potential allergic reactions and asthma episodes. AAFA expressed support for the core proposal. But we are disappointed that...
Blog Post

DOT Proposes New Rules for Animals on Planes

AAFA Community Services ·
On Jan. 22, 2020, the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) released proposed rules on animals on planes. If they finalize these rules, airlines would no longer be forced to recognize emotional support animals as service animals and may treat them as pets.
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Re: DOT Proposes New Rules for Animals on Planes

Michelle Keen ·
Thank you so much from all of us who suffer and for this update ! I too have to worry about traveling with animals, where I can stay, hotel, rental home that a cat /dog has not stayed in. I get extremely sick for a long period of time. Definitely ruins a vacation or going to see my kids in other States. Michelle Keen
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Re: DOT Proposes New Rules for Animals on Planes

Hilary H ·
Thank you for your continued advocacy on this. It does seem like we need to keep working on even more accommodations as I'm worried this still won't change the fact that more and more people are bringing animals onto planes, allowing them to sit on seats etc. Could we make any headway by looking at the root cause of the issue which is that the reason people want to bring their pets with them in the cabin is that they fear putting them in cargo? The main reasons they worry about the cargo...
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Re: DOT Proposes New Rules for Animals on Planes

TE ·
In an effort to best take care of me when purchasing a plane ticket is, I buy business class. This is obviously at a height cost to me and I feel it’s unfair. But, animals are not often in B/C. It’s beyond sneezing and itchy eyes. My asthma kicks in. It becomes very hard to breathe. I understand people have animals for various reasons (medical and otherwise). I do not however feel they should be allowed in the cabins sharing the same air quality as us human beings. Is it really worth the...
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Re: DOT Proposes New Rules for Animals on Planes

Compton ·
Welcome @TE . It's good to have you here joining in the conversation. In the forums, the most recent discussion is animal dander on airplanes . Hope to see you there with your ideas.
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