Monday, February 27, 2006

Travelers best friend

Should you have to pay double because you travel with a service animal? That seems to be the goal of a proposed change in regulations that would allow US airlines to charge for another seat when someone travels with a service animal. A KNBC in LA report on the issue includes this testimony in which it sounds like travelers with disabilities weren't encountering any problems traveling with their animals. In fact, other travelers seemed willing to adapt to accommodate the animals. Why change? The Oakland Press reports the change relates to the Air Carrier Access Act. If the animal doesn't fit in the space in front of the passenger, the airline could charge for another seat, under the proposed change. Rod Hanlon, chief operating officer of Leader Dogs, told the Press "The airlines talked about this before, and now apparently the DOT has issued proposed rules to authorize airlines to charge a disabled passenger for an extra ticket if the disabled person's service dog doesn't fit into the small amount of floor space directly in front of where the disabled person is sitting on an airplane. This is not fair. The dog is your choice of a mobility tool. You're being discriminated against, in essence, because your choice of a mobility tool doesn't fit perfectly into their seat." If you didn't want to pay for the seat, the animal would have to travel as cargo. The KNBC story notes that service dogs are allowed and even accommodated in the cabin by British Airways.


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