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Old 05-17-2009, 08:39 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Default ?? Amended Air Carrier Access Act Regulation (NEW)

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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

....

#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
http://www.inch.com/~dogs/service.html
• Assistance Dogs International -
http://www.assistancedogsinternation...atecountry.php
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.)

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Old 05-17-2009, 08:45 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Default Re: ?? Amended Air Carrier Access Act Regulation (NEW)

(cont.)

#19. Some carriers have voluntarily established disability advisory boards to provide feedback on services that may affect individuals with disabilities. May a carrier consult with its disability advisory board members in lieu of a local service animal training organization on the establishment of airport service animal relief areas?

Answer: A carrier may consult with its disability advisory board members on the establishment of an airport service animal relief area, but may not do so in lieu of consulting a local service animal training organization. Where there is no local service animal training organization, the Aviation Enforcement Office would consider consultation with a national or international service animal training organization to satisfy the requirement.


#20. How will travelers accompanied by assistance dogs/service animals know where the relief areas are located in U.S. airports?

Answer: Passengers who request that the carrier provide them with assistance to an animal relief area should be advised by the carrier of the location of the animal relief area. Additionally, if requested, it would be the responsibility of the carrier to accompany a passenger traveling with a service animal to and from the animal relief area. The requirement to provide animal relief areas is effective on May 13, 2009, for U.S. carriers and May 13, 2010, for foreign carriers. (See also question 29.)
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Old 05-17-2009, 08:48 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Default Re: ?? Amended Air Carrier Access Act Regulation (NEW)

(cont.)

Section 382.81 – Seating Accommodations


#24. Can an airline require passengers with a disability accompanied by service animals to sit in the bulkhead row?

Answer: No. As stated in 382.81 (c), a passenger with a disability traveling with a service animal must be provided, as the passenger requests, either a bulkhead seat or a seat other than a bulkhead seat that would accommodate the service animal subject to applicable safety regulations. If the passenger chooses a seat other than a bulkhead seat, the carrier is not required to permit the passenger to specify a particular seat of his or her choosing (e.g., “7C”) that he or she would not be entitled to under the carrier’s normal seat-selection procedures, except to the extent necessary to accommodate the animal as required by sections 382.117(b) and (c) of the rule.


#25. May a carrier exclude a passenger with a disability seeking to travel with a service animal from his or her specific assigned seat or require that passenger to sit in a particular seat in the cabin?

Answer: No, except to comply with FAA or applicable foreign government safety regulations. A service animal may be placed at the feet of a person with a disability at any bulkhead seat or in any other seat as long as when the animal is seated/placed/curled up on the floor, no part of the animal extends into the main aisle(s) of the aircraft and the service animal is not at an emergency exit row seat.
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Old 05-17-2009, 08:53 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Default Re: ?? Amended Air Carrier Access Act Regulation (NEW)

(cont.)

#29. Who is responsible for providing escort assistance to an airport service animal relief area and how can a passenger accompanied by a service animal obtain such assistance?

Answer: Airlines are responsible for providing assistance to animal relief areas upon request at those airports where such animal relief areas are required. Airlines are free to use contractors to provide this service. Passengers can obtain such assistance by requesting it from appropriate airline personnel. (See question 20 also dealing with service animal relief escort assistance.)


#33. What type of documentation are carriers permitted to require as a condition of permitting a service animal to travel on a flight segment scheduled to take 8 hours or more?

Answer: The carrier may require documentation that the animal will not need to relieve itself during the expected duration of the flight or that the animal can relieve itself in a way that does not create a health or sanitation issue on the flight. Examples of documentation a passenger could provide include either a written statement from a veterinarian, a signed statement from the passenger containing the procedures that he/she employs to prevent the animal from having to relieve itself (e.g., limitation on the provision of food and water) and an assurance that the use of these procedures has prevented the animal from relieving itself for a period similar to that of the planned duration of the flight, or a signed statement with photographs or other illustrations of the animal’s ability to relieve itself without posing a health or sanitation problem (e.g., the use of a passenger-provided absorbent plastic-backed pad).


#34. May carriers require documentation that an animal accompanying a passenger with a disability is a service animal?

Answer: Generally no, except in limited circumstances as discussed below. Unless a foreign carrier has received a conflict of laws waiver permitting the carrier to impose such a requirement, or the carrier finds that the verbal assurances of the passenger are not credible and there are no other indications of the animal’s status such as a harness, tag or vest, the airline may not require such documentation. Carriers are permitted to require documentation for emotional support animals and psychiatric service animals.


#35. What conditions may carriers impose on the transport of service dogs?

Answer: Carriers must transport all service dogs (e.g., guide dogs, seizure alert dogs, etc.) as long as safety and animal health requirements are met.


#36. Must carriers accept emotional support and psychiatric support animals in the aircraft cabin?

Answer: U.S. carriers must accept any emotional support or psychiatric service animal in the aircraft cabin consistent with applicable safety and animal health requirements and ensure that its foreign code share partners do the same on covered flights with respect to passengers traveling under the U.S. carrier’s code. Foreign carriers must accept any emotional support or psychiatric service dog in the aircraft cabin consistent with applicable safety and animal health requirements on covered flights.
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Old 05-17-2009, 09:00 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Default Re: ?? Amended Air Carrier Access Act Regulation (NEW)

(cont.)

#37. What should airline personnel do if a passenger with a disability is accompanied in the airplane cabin by a service animal that does not fit in the space immediately in front of the passenger and there is no other seat in the cabin with sufficient space to safely accommodate the animal?

Answer: If a service animal does not fit in the space immediately in front of the accompanying passenger with a disability and there is no other seat with sufficient space to safely accommodate the animal and its partner (i.e., user), there are several options to consider for accommodating the service animal in the cabin in the same class of service. The carrier should speak with other passengers to find a passenger in an adjacent seat who is willing to share foot space with the animal, or a passenger in a seat adjacent to a location where the service animal can be accommodated (e.g., in the space behind the last row of seats) or adjacent to an empty seat, who is willing to exchange seats with the service animal’s partner. As noted in the preamble to our rule, there are probably no circumstances in which the purchase of a second seat would be necessary to accommodate the service animal. If a class of service on a flight is totally filled, there would not be any seat available for purchase. If the class of service had even one middle seat unoccupied, the passenger with a service animal could be seated next to the vacant seat. It is likely that even a large animal (e.g., Great Dane) could use some of the floor space of the vacant seat, making any further purchase by the passenger unnecessary. Only if there is no alternative available to enable the passenger to travel with the service animal in the cabin on that flight should the carrier offer options such as transporting the service animal in the cargo hold or transportation on a later flight with more room. When transportation on a later flight is offered, carriers are strongly encouraged, but not required by Part 382, to allow any passenger who wishes to rebook on a different flight to the same destination and on the same airline to do so at the same fare.


#38. If a carrier determines that a service animal cannot accompany a passenger with a disability in the cabin due to a behavior problem on the part of the animal that may result in a direct threat to the health or safety of others or a fundamental alteration in service, what should the carrier do?

Answer: The carrier should first permit the passenger to try available means of mitigating the problem (e.g., muzzling a barking service dog) before deciding to exclude the service animal from the cabin. If those means are not successful, the carrier may follow its company policy on pets because the animal has shown that it has not been successfully trained to function as a service animal in public settings. Whenever the airline decides not to accept an animal for travel as a service animal, the airline must provide the passenger a written explanation of its decision within 10 calendar days of the incident.


#39. If a carrier determines that a service animal cannot accompany a disabled passenger in the cabin and the passenger refuses to allow the animal to be transported in the cargo hold and requests instead to be rebooked on a later flight, must the carrier do so without additional charge?

Answer: If an airline cannot safely transport a service animal (e.g., because it is too large to fit anywhere in the cabin), a carrier must follow its nondiscriminatory contract of carriage provisions applicable to the passenger’s fare in determining how to best re-accommodate such passengers. Although not required by Part 382, carriers are strongly encouraged to allow any such passengers who wish to rebook on a different flight to the same destination and on the same airline to do so at the same fare.

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Old 05-17-2009, 09:05 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Default Re: ?? Amended Air Carrier Access Act Regulation (NEW)

(cont.)

#40. How can a passenger accompanied by a service animal find out whether the country he or she is traveling to has animal health regulations that carriers as well as the passenger with a service animal must comply with in order to ensure the legal entry of the service animal into that country?

Answer: Passengers should always confirm well in advance with the embassy or consulate of the country they plan to visit and with the airline on which they will be traveling, which animal health regulations apply. Most countries have animal health regulations that require certain health conditions to be met before an animal can be legally admitted to the country. At a minimum, most countries require a valid rabies vaccination certificate issued by a licensed veterinarian. Additional health measures may be required within specified time frames before you travel and species restrictions may also apply. Passengers should be aware that many islands have similar restrictions, even for animals traveling from the mainland of the same country (e.g., Hawaii), and check with the island’s designated animal health authority before traveling to determine what conditions apply.


#41. For purposes of providing documentation stating a passenger’s disability-related need for an emotional support or psychiatric service animal1, what kind of practitioners qualify as “licensed mental health professionals”?

Answer: Any licensed mental health professional (e.g., psychiatrist, psychologist, licensed clinical social worker) including a medical doctor who is specifically treating a passenger’s mental or emotional disability is a practitioner qualified to provide documentation stating the passenger’s need for an emotional support or psychiatric service animal. A qualified practitioner would include a general practitioner who is treating the passenger’s mental or emotional disability.


#42. May a carrier require that the documentation a passenger provides in order to travel with an animal that is used as an emotional support or psychiatric service animal state the passenger’s specific mental or emotional condition?

Answer: No. A carrier may only require that a passenger’s documentation confirm that a passenger has a mental or emotional disability recognized in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders- Fourth Edition (DSM-IV), in addition to three other items (i.e., the passenger needs the animal for air travel and/or activity at the passenger’s destination, the individual providing the assessment is a licensed mental health professional and that passenger is under his/her care, the date and type of mental health professional’s license and the state or other jurisdiction in which it was issued).


#43. May a carrier accept documentation from a licensed mental health professional concerning a passenger’s need for a psychiatric or emotional support animal if the documentation is more than one year old?

Answer: Carriers may, at their discretion, accept from the passenger with a disability documentation from his or her licensed mental health professional that is more than one year old. We encourage carriers to consider accepting “outdated” documentation in situations where such passenger provides a letter or notice of cancellation or other written communication indicating the cessation of health insurance coverage, and his/her inability to afford treatment for his or her mental or emotional disability.
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Old 05-17-2009, 09:10 PM   #7 (permalink)
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Default Re: ?? Amended Air Carrier Access Act Regulation (NEW)

(cont.)

#47. Are food and equipment that a service animal requires to function as a service animal considered assistive devices under Part 382?

Answer: Equipment used by a service animal (e.g., harness, leash, vest) in conjunction with its work as a service animal is an assistive device under the rule. Food is not equipment under this definition and therefore when tendered as carry-on or checked baggage, the standard size, weight, and baggage allowance limits of the carrier may apply.
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Old 10-05-2011, 01:02 PM   #8 (permalink)
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Close of Comment (feedback) Deadline is November 28, 2011

Appendix: Proposed Regulation

The proposed rule regarding service animal relief areas reads as follows:

49 CFR 27.72 Boarding Assistance for Aircraft

(h) Service animal relief areas. Each airport with 10,000 or more annual enplanements shall consult with service animal training organization(s) and cooperate with airlines that own, lease, or control terminal facilities at that airport to provide at least one animal relief area in each airport terminal for service animals that accompany passengers departing, connecting, or arriving at the airport. To the extent that airports have established animal relief areas prior to the effective date of this subsection and have not consulted with service animal training organization(s), airports shall consult with service animal training organization(s) regarding the sufficiency of all existing animal relief areas.

Department of Transportation, Nondiscrimination on the Basis of Disability in Programs or Activities Receiving Federal Financial Assistance (U.S. Airports), Docket No. DOT-OST-2011-0182, 76 Fed. Reg. 60426 (September 29, 2011).
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Last edited by ILGHAUS; 10-05-2011 at 01:34 PM.
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Old 10-05-2011, 01:27 PM   #9 (permalink)
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Default

From the blog Dog Law Reporter


Relief Areas for Dogs at Airports: Department of Transportation Proposes Rules, Solicits Advice on Open Issues
Friday, September 30, 2011

With credit also to Patty Dobbs Gross, Joan Esnayra, Anne Wicklund, Caitlin Moore, and Matt Kincaid.

Quote:
Those who travel with service animals, and probably those who travel with search and rescue dogs as well as small dogs that come under weight limits for carry-on transport, should take a look at the rules since the Department is seeking advice on issues such as the number of relief areas, whether they have to be located inside terminals, and whether airports should have personnel available to help people, such as blind people and people with mobility impairments, to and from service animal relief areas.

Dog Law Reporter: Relief Areas for Dogs at Airports: Department of Transportation Proposes Rules, Solicits Advice on Open Issues
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