What are my child’s rights for flying?

We have been invited to an immediate family members' wedding in Florida in May and would have to fly. It would be my sons' first time flying and he has severe allergies to dogs/cats. We contacted the airline to find out what accommodations could be made only to discover that we basically have no rights because the rights of those traveling with pets is above ours. We would have to be bumped because airlines are required to allow service/emotional-support animals on board even if we booked our tickets first. 

So what I'm confused about is that those with severe allergies like my son are protected under the ADA, yet he gets no accommodations when traveling. Why is the burden of changing flight plans, etc. put on those with a life-altering disability? 

Has anyone else had to deal with this and how did you? Is it worth the risk or should we tell this family member we just can't make it?


Comments 7

  • Pljohns

    I wish I knew-we flew to CA back in June and the lady that sat next to me had a schnauzer with her-no carrier or anything and that dog was all over her, me and everyone else.  I thought then about those of with severe allergies as this lady really did’t care where her dog was.  Something has to change for those with allergies. Her dog was a service dog or anything-she was traveling to see her daughter and didn’t want to leave him at home.

  • Shea

    Robert, I am on the same boat as you, and so is my 6 year old son. I have done some research, and as far as I have learned the establishment ius required to accommodate both disabilities, but thus far have heard of know way for the establishment to do so. I think the issue is service animal rights are more organized and publicized, whereas asthma and allergy sufferers are less. I'd like to be part of a complaint and organized group to fight for our rights. This topic is discussed on two other threads on here (in other areas such as service animals in healthcare facilities and residential facilities such as dorm rooms):


    Above is a link to one of the threads. 

    I think you can file an ADA complaint with what you have so far.  We have just not even attempted to fly because it just seems impossible, but I think filing complaints is a good starting point to making things change. Let us know how it goods if you do!

  • Shea

    and the other thread is: 


    Of interest  from there is: 

    I did find this on the websites FAQ ( &nbsp

    Q26. When might a service dog's presence fundamentally alter the nature of a service or program provided to the public?

    A. In most settings, the presence of a service animal will not result in a fundamental alteration.  However, there are some exceptions.  For example, at a boarding school, service animals could be restricted from a specific area of a dormitory reserved specifically for students with allergies to dog dander.  At a zoo, service animals can be restricted from areas where the animals on display are the natural prey or natural predators of dogs, where the presence of a dog would be disruptive, causing the displayed animals to behave aggressively or become agitated.  They cannot be restricted from other areas of the zoo. 

    So… I see that specific areas of a dormitory can be protected, and that establishments CAN restrict service animals… that is good news! (I never heard that before). 

    Also, religious instituest and federal as well are not required to follow ADA, so that could be good IF they have a no animal policy. 

    BUT.. Also it says there: 

    Q37. Do commercial airlines have to comply with the ADA?

    A. No.  The Air Carrier Access Act is the Federal law that protects the rights of people with disabilities in air travel.  For information or to file a complaint, contact the U.S. Department of Transportation, Aviation Consumer Protection Division, at 202-366-2220.

  • Jen

    @RobertDean Welcome to AAFA's support forums.   This is definitely a concern for many with asthma and allergies.  Have you talked to your son's doctor to ask what they would recommend?

  • K8sMom2002

    Hi, and welcome, Robert! What a frustrating situation! 

    AAFA has a webinar about that can give you a good overview of legal issues involved in flying. 

    From what I understand, current regulations make it so that airlines don't have to abide by the Americans with Disability Act and that passengers have no recourse (they can't sue airlines).

    AAFA has said that it supports the current  as introduced by Sen. Richard Blumenthal, as it will provide a pathway for passengers to file complaints. Also,  explaining why asthma and allergies should be taken into consideration as disabilities during airline travel.

  • Shea

    I just saw this article online, and had to share. Hopefully the airlines will get their heads on straight soon:



  • Melissa G

    @RobertDean will you guys be traveling for the upcoming wedding? What plans have you made?