Issued on 05/13/09 by the Office of the Assistant General Counsel for Aviation Enforcement and Proceedings and its Aviation Consumer Protection Division.
Effective May 13, 2009
Incorporates information from the U.S. Department of Transportation’s “A
Guide to Air Carrier Access Act (ACAA) and its Implementing Regulation”
14 CFR Part 382 (Part 382)
UNITED STATES OF AMERICA
DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION
OFFICE OF AVIATION ENFORCEMENT AND PROCEEDINGS WASHINGTON, DC
May 13, 2009
Answers to Frequently Asked Questions Concerning Air Travel of People with Disabilities Under the Amended Air Carrier Access Act Regulation
382.27 – Advance Notice
10. When must a carrier accommodate a passenger accompanied by an emotional support or psychiatric service animal who has not provided 48 hours’ advance notice?
Answer: Carriers must accommodate a passenger accompanied by an emotional support or psychiatric service animal who has not provided 48 hours’ advance notice if the carrier
can do so by making reasonable efforts, without delaying a flight. The carrier, at its discretion, may waive its 48 hours’ advance notice requirement in order to expedite the short-notice air travel of a passenger accompanied by an emotional support or psychiatric service animal.
Section 382.51(a)(5) – Airport Accessibility
#16. Where should carriers and airports establish the service animal relief areas required at U.S. airports under the rule?
Answer: While not specifically required by our rule, carriers and airports may wish to consider the benefits of establishing animal relief areas both inside and outside the secure area (e.g., to accommodate passengers with short connection times, to minimize time needed for escort service, passenger convenience). In doing so, carriers should consult with service animal training organizations. In establishing animal relief areas inside the secure area, carriers and airports should coordinate closely with the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) and the Customs and Border Protection (CBP) offices serving the airport to ensure that the animal relief area can be used consistent with TSA and CBP procedures.
#17. Who is responsible for the installation and maintenance of service animal relief areas at U.S. airports?
Answer: Animal relief areas should be provided in cooperation between airlines and the airport operator and in consultation with local service animal training organization(s). The national and international service animal organizations below have directories of training organizations on their websites that carriers and airport operators can use to find the nearest service animal training organization to the consulting airport. Such groups are often able to put airlines and airports in touch with sources of the necessary technical expertise on establishing relief areas.
• American Dog Trainers Network
American Dog Trainers Network -- SERVICE AND ASSISTANCE DOGS
• Assistance Dogs International -
If the Department’s Aviation Enforcement Office received a complaint alleging that an animal relief area was not available or not being properly maintained, the carrier(s) would ultimately be responsible for ensuring these areas are available and maintained, with respect to terminal facilities it owns, leases or controls. However, the actual establishment of the animal relief area as well as its maintenance could be handled contractually with the airport operator since several carriers could be using the same designated animal relief area.
#18. What factors should airlines and airports consider in designating and constructing areas for service animal relief at U.S. airports?
Answer: Factors to consider in establishing relief areas include the size and surface material of the area, maintenance, and distance to relief area which could vary based on the size and configuration of the airport. The best solution based on these factors will vary from airport to airport and therefore involvement of all the stakeholder groups in the planning is critical (e.g., airline, airport, service animal training organization, TSA, CBP). Some considerations for designating and constructing areas that are safe for humans and animals include:
• Designate relief areas solely for that purpose. This helps keep the area free of hazards and distractions, and helps prevent the spread of waste contamination.
• Establish relief areas:
�� accessible to passengers with all types of disabilities;
�� of a size adequate for larger dogs to use;
�� that minimize the travel distance to and from the gate for passengers making connecting flights; and
�� equipped with adequate lighting to enhance usability and security.
• Keep the area clean (e.g., free of broken glass, bottle caps, and trash). When feasible, the area should also be free of loud noises and strong odors.
• Use a gravel or sand surface for relief areas. Gravel can be disinfected adequately to reduce the chance of germs being spread between animals or being carried outside of the relief area.
• Adequate drainage should be installed to allow cleaning by regularly hosing down the relief area.
• Provide trash cans for waste disposal that are emptied frequently.
Note that there is a requirement for carriers to consult with service animal training organizations in establishing animal relief areas. (See question 17 above.)