June 18, 2009
Lung Association dismayed that pets allowed in airplane cabins
(Ottawa) - In light of Air Canada's decision to follow WestJet's lead and allow pets to travel in the passenger cabin of airplanes, The Canadian Lung Association today released the following statement:
"We are very disappointed by the decision of both Air Canada and WestJet to allow passengers to bring their pets in airplane cabins. This decision, while understandable in its desire to enhance customer service, unnecessarily puts at risk many individuals who suffer from respiratory diseases such as asthma and COPD.
Air inside airplane cabins re-circulates- it gets recycled through the vents. And airplane cabins are small spaces. This means that even a small amount of allergen- like the hair, saliva or dander of a pet- can spread quickly throughout the airplane cabin. The allergen in the air can reach every passenger on the plane, even people sitting far away from the pet. For people with allergies who have asthma or COPD, pet allergens can trigger wheezing, coughing, and swelling in the airways - otherwise known as an asthma flare-up (asthma attack) or a COPD flare-up. These reactions can be serious and even life-threatening.
The Lung Association is calling on the House of Commons Standing Committee on Health to examine this issue when the Committee resumes sitting in the fall. We believe that the risks posed to passengers warrants the Committee's review of this policy decision by the airlines.
The Lung Association would be most willing to appear before the Committee on this topic of importance to the millions of Canadians who suffer from asthma, COPD, allergies and other respiratory diseases.
In the interim, The Lung Association urges all Canadians with asthma or other respiratory diseases that may be exacerbated by allergic reaction to animals, to ensure their disease is properly managed every day - including when they are planning to travel, and to bring their quick-relief medicine (usually in a blue puffer) in their carry-on luggage".
For a list of ways to manage your lung disease, please visit www.lung.ca.
Learn more about asthma
Learn more about COPD
Established in 1900, The Lung Association is one of Canada's oldest and most respected health charities, and the leading national organization for science-based information, research, education, support programs and advocacy on lung heath issues.
For more information, media representatives may contact:
Director of Government Affairs and Media Relations
The Lung Association
613-569-6411, ext, 223