Individuals with differing disabilities commonly travel with service animals. And as responsible owners, they call for airports to provide better pet relief areas.
However, even if there’s an existing federal ruling that promotes the addition of such facilities in airports, not all of them comply. In fact, some animal bathrooms in the buildings are not well maintained and not designed to accommodate huge pets, reportedly.
Chief Executive Michael May of the Lighthouse for the Blind in Seattle believes that pet relief areas in airports should be of high quality beyond security. As someone who has lost his eyesight, Mr. May knows how important it is to have a pet around when traveling. But unfortunately, it pains them to know that their service animals are inconvenienced by the structure of common pet bathrooms in some airports.
There’s a federal rule that requires airports to build pet relief areas for service animals.
As mentioned above, there’s a ruling that observes the addition of bathrooms specifically built for service pets. According to the federal ruling, such areas should benefit animals traveling with owners who are using a wheelchair and suffer from varying disabilities. Ideally, pets must be able to easily access the facility to help relieve themselves quickly.
But it appears that the pet relief areas in some airports are not designed appropriately. Eric Lipp, the executive director of a Chicago-based advocacy group for travelers with disabilities called Open Doors Organization pointed that there are pet bathrooms that are “worthless.” The design does not suit his 55-pound Golden Retriever as it is too small.
In addition, a similar comment came from the director of programs of the Open Doors Organization, Laurel Van Horn. She said the pet bathroom in Terminal 4 at Kennedy International Airport in New York is “small and narrow.” Additionally, she noted that there’s a fire hydrant placed in the relief area, which is seemingly useless and just occupies more space.
After receiving the feedback, Chief executive of JFKIAT and operator of Terminal 4 at Kennedy Airport, Gert-Jan de Graaff, expressed his sympathy. “It remains our utmost priority to ensure a comfortable and accessible facility for all our passengers, especially those traveling with guide and service dogs, emotional support animals and other pets,” the chief said in a report by The New York Times.
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