Federal DOT discussing possible limitations on comfort animals on planes

I saw this and thought about so many folks here who have posted about their issues with pet dander on planes. The article did not mention asthma or allergies to pet dander. It did say this:

Earlier this year, Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx named the Access Advisory Committee to try to negotiate a compromise between airlines and advocates to limit the definition of comfort animals. Since beginning in April, the group has debated possible restrictions on the size and species of comfort animals. But it’s not clear it will reach a consensus by the final meeting, which begins Wednesday and ends Friday.

Even without a compromise, the department could propose a change in how it defines the animals, though it could take months or years before the change takes effect. The department is also considering ways to make lavatories more accessible on single-aisle planes and seat-back entertainment more accessible for the deaf and blind.

The Access Advisory Committee website talks about its


Comments 12

  • Jen

    I'm glad they're looking into the issue.  There are definitely people who take advantage of things and bring their animals everywhere, claiming that they're service animals.

  • K8sMom2002

    I was really surprised that the working committee didn't have any listed representatives from the asthma or allergist field. I haven't had a chance to see if any decision was made.

    Still usually these things take a while and agencies usually also offer a chance for public comment on any proposed rule changes. 

    I'll do some googling and see what turns up.

  • Shea

    Let us know what you find out in your google search. I feel that allergists and asthma advocates really need to be heard when they discuss the rule changes, and any place where I can put input, I would love to know about!

  • K8sMom2002

    Shea, I haven't found anything yet … but the Access Advisory Committee website page about its  had a DOT contact person listed. 


  • K8sMom2002

    @Shea, I did some more digging … apparently there's no decision yet, and

    There was a way for the public to make comments online — not sure if they'll open that back up for the seventh meeting or not. But here's . 

  • K8sMom2002

    FYI – The  WILL be taking comments for this 7th meeting, and the deadline is Oct. 31.

    Here's the info:

    Submitting Written Comments 

    Members of the public may submit written comments on the topics to be considered during the meeting by October 31, 2016, to FDMC, Docket Number DOT-OST-2015-0246. You may submit your comments and material online or by fax, mail, or hand delivery, but please use only one of these means. DOT recommends that you include your name and a mailing address, an email address, or a phone number in the body of your document so that DOT can contact you if there are questions regarding your submission.

    To submit your comment online, go to put the docket number, DOT-OST-2015-0246, in the keyword box, and click “Search.” When the new screen appears, click on the “Comment Now!” button and type your comment into the text box on the following screen. Choose whether you are submitting your comment as an individual or on behalf of a third party and then submit.

    If you submit your comments by mail or hand delivery, submit them in an unbound format, no larger than 81⁄2 by 11 inches, suitable for copying and electronic filing.

  • Ann Marie

    I'm glad they're looking into this. It bothers me, though, that the DOT committee has representatives for people with guide dogs and mental illness, but no representatives for people with allergies.

  • K8sMom2002

    @Ann Marie, I was bothered by that, too, so I was glad to see that AAFA did submit a letter explaining the problems people with asthma and dander allergies have. Were you able to submit your own comment?

  • Ann Marie

    I was glad AAFA submitted the letter, too. Thank you, AAFA!

    No, I wasn't able to submit a comment, maybe because the deadline for comments has already passed. I wish I would have noticed this topic earlier!

  • K8sMom2002

    I'm glad AAFA works behind the scenes to try to keep up to date with things like this — and I hope that this community forum will be a place where we can share issues like this to get the word out. So if you see something, folks, SAY something!

  • K8sMom2002

    Ann Marie, I thought about you as I tried to find if there have been any changes to this. How are things going?