Airline pet policy raises allergy concerns

June 2, 2009 at 5:47 PM

DALLAS, June 2 (UPI) -- U.S. carrier Southwest Airlines' new policy of pets riding in the cabin has some passengers complaining about the possibility of allergies and in-flight noise.

The economy airline's policy, which allows passengers to bring small cats and dogs on their flights for a $75 fee starting June 17, yielded complaints from travelers with allergies and those concerned about disruptive barking while flying, The Denver Post reported Tuesday.

"I have a granddaughter who has a big problem with asthma, and she can't even breathe around a dog," Marlene Sanders of Golden, Colo., said.

Southwest spokesman Chris Mainz said the complaints "were not something we had heard prior to rolling out" the new policy. He said Southwest is actually one of the last airlines to allow pets in the cabin, with American, United, Delta and JetBlue charging $100 to $150 for the service.

"We will quickly make accommodations if a pet is causing any disruption in flight," Mainz said. "This is similar to the peanut allergy, and we do have experience in accommodating customers."

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