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How to Fly with Severe Pet Allergies

by Bill Conn

If you suffer from a severe allergy to common pets, you know just how frustrating it can be. Just being in the same room as an animal can set off an uncomfortable chain of reactions.

Unfortunately, avoiding animal-lovers’ homes isn’t enough anymore. More and more travelers are choosing to bring their animals along for the trip—and they’re bringing their pets on board with them.

For some mild-sufferers, being on a flight with a cat or dog might just mean itchy eyes or a running nose for the duration of the trip. But for others, the cost of flying with Fluffy can be much higher.

If you have a severe allergy to any animal, it’s important to know how to handle an unexpected travel companion.

Know the airline’s pet policy

Each airline has their own policy when it comes to animals in the cabin. Some only allow service animals while others give travelers an opportunity to buy a seat for their family pet.

If your allergies are severe, get to know the policies of each airline. If possible, choose to book with an airline with a strict pet policy. This way you’ll be less likely to wind up sitting next to Buddy on your next flight.

Alert your airline early on

Don’t wait until you’re lining up at the gate to let your airline know you have an allergy. Reach out and warn the airline right after booking your flight.

Alerting them ahead of time can help them better accommodate your needs. They can let you know if an animal is already booked on your flight, or stop them from reserving spots to pets.

Remind airline employees at the gate

After checking in, connect with an airline employee to double check if any animals are on your flight. In the event that an animal you’re allergic to is on the flight, the team should work with you to find a reasonable compromise.

At this time, the airline team might recommend moving your seat to create more distance between you and the animal. If you’re uncomfortable with this, ask to be moved to a different flight.

Pack medications in your carry on

If you have any allergy medication, be sure to bring it with you on your flight. Even if you don’t think an animal is on your plane, it’s better to be prepared.

Keep your medication in your carry-on, not in your checked bag. Make sure it is easily accessible if you end up needing it.

When it comes to flying with pet allergies, remember you know your body best. Consider things like the length of the flight, the kind of animal, and of course, how severe your allergy is when determining if you should change your travel plans.

Don’t wait until last minute to figure out what to do about an animal on your flight. Talk with your airline, get your medication in order, and ask questions before getting on your plane to ensure a safe and smooth trip.

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