Pugs await the start of the Oregon Humane Society Doggie Dash event, an attempt to break the world record for most costumed dogs at one event in Portland, Oregon May 10, 2014. REUTERS/Steve Dipaola

Air Canada has got a judicial relief for its dog segregation issue, with the Canadian Transportation Agency being directed to reconsider its ruling that mandated the airline to separate pooches from passengers having dog allergies in the airline's cabins. Setting aside CTA's ruling, the Federal Court of Appeal observed the ruling was not borne of any real evidence or due consideration for Air Canada's contention that a less intrusive remedy could be found.

CTA Ruling

The Daily Courier reported that It was in 2013, the CTA ruled that Air Canada must create a buffer zone of least five rows to separate passengers with allergies from service dogs or pet canines travelling in carriers in airline cabins. In the ruling, the agency banned pet dogs altogether on planes not having a HEPA filter ventilation system, in case a passenger with a dog allergy was on board. The ruling followed the complaint of a passenger that Air Canada's policy on dogs in airline cabins created "an undue obstacle to the mobility" of passengers suffering from "dog allergy disability." In the case of service dogs, the agency wanted priority accorded to whoever booked their ticket first -- the passenger with the dog or the allergic passenger.

The O Canada report pointed out that the ruling on dogs vs allergic passengers to Air Canada, followed similar strictures to WestJet Airlines and Air Canada Jazz a year ago, which stipulated creating a five-row distance between travelling felines and passengers allergic to cats. But Air Canada chose to appeal against the ruling at the Federal Court of Appeal. The panel of three judges has now concluded that the CTA ruling was short of procedural fairness.

"I have no hesitation in saying that common sense has not prevailed in the present matter. The agency determined important issues, not only for the applicant and all those having dog allergies, but also for Air Canada. But it did so without the benefit of any real evidence being adduced by the parties and particularly by Air Canada ...The agency was disposing of these important issues without, in effect, the full participation of Air Canada," wrote Justice Marc Nadon.


In its submission, Air Canada argued that CTA's ruling would force it to discriminate against passengers with service dogs, abd will be violative of the U.S. regulations. The airline also argued that dog dander does not circulate in the air unlike cat dander and a less restrictive approach could be taken to separate passengers from pooches.

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