Marley Greenglass spent a flight from Toronto to Phoenix in the throes of an allergy attack caused by a dog under the seat ahead of her.
Greenglass complained to the Canadian Transportation Agency, which reviewed the case and deemed pet allergies — to both cats and dogs — to be a disability.
The agency posted the decision this month stating that when a passenger with a disability identifies themselves, the country's airlines should, either ban dogs from the flight, or keep them at least five rows away – depending on the aircraft's filtration system.
"For a certain number of people who are animal-allergic, yes, it can be a problem," said Vancouver allergist Dr. Amin Kanini.
Previously the agency has deemed cat allergies to be a disability, but there was no compliance regulations in place for dogs.
Passengers will be required to provide evidence of their allergy in order for the airline to accommodate their health issue.
Air Canada previously made a decision to accommodate seeing eye dogs for visually impaired passengers.
The airline has said that if a crossover should happen, the priority will go to whomever booked their flight first.
"The agency found that, as Air Canada does not provide the appropriate accommodation measures. Air Canada's policy/procedure, as it relates to the carriage of dogs in the aircraft in which a person with a disability due to an allergy of dogs is travelling, constitutes an obstacle to the mobility of Mrs. Greenglass and of other persons with a dog allergy disability," said the Canadian Transportation Agency’s statement on the issue.
The agency has given Air Canada until Sept. 16 to finalize how it will accommodate these passengers.
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