IPATA Statement: Addressing the Safety of Pet Travel

“The International Pet and Animal Transportation Association (IPATA) understands that the U.S. Department of Transportation’s (DOT) recent revision to the Air Carrier Access Act may cause pet owners concern over the safety of flying with their pets. IPATA supports the DOT’s decision and pet owners can be assured that air travel in the cargo area of airplanes is safe for pets.

“The DOT’s revision to the Air Carrier Access Act rules that emotional support animals will now be considered pets rather than service animals and may fly only in the cargo hold or in a kennel stowed underneath a cabin seat for an extra fee determined by the airline. The revision also defines service animals as a dog, regardless of breed or type, that is individually trained to do work or perform tasks for the benefit of a qualified individual with a disability.

“Shipping pets, using airplanes, is a necessity for many people. Now that in-cabin travel is not an option for the majority of pets because of DOT’s recent ruling, pets that need to travel via airplane may have to do so via the cargo area. If the proper requirements are met, pets are not in danger while traveling in this way. Commercial aircraft that carry animals via the cargo area is pressurized and temperature controlled.

“Air travel is the safest and a very humane mode of travel for pets. More than 4 million pets and other live animals are transported by air every year worldwide. Less than 0.01 percent of pets that travel by air have an incident, which means that over 99.99 percent of all pets that fly annually are safely reunited with their families across the globe.

“Professional pet shippers are an important part of the transportation process – making sure the pet’s travel experience is safe and free from undue stress. IPATA members have agreed to meet our organization’s standards and Code of Ethics for an added measure of security and confidence in shipping a pet by air – whether it is a country domestic shipment or an international flight to another country.

“IPATA’s role is to represent the interests of professional pet shippers and our allied members, advocate on their behalf worldwide and educate consumers about safe and humane pet transport. The care of pets during travel and shipping is our members’ highest priority. Find an IPATA member on the ‘Find a Shipper’ link on our website.”

IPATA Airline Liaison Committee Chair & President-Elect, Hazel Imrie