Pets on planes: Airlines to make problems plain

When travelling, sometimes it’s not only the germs hiding practically everywhere you need to worry about. Sometimes, you need to keep your pets in mind, too.

Up until recently, taking pets on an airplane was a fairly standard process, one that gave little insight as to what happened to pets before, during and after being in the air. If animals were injured, lost or died through some action of the airline, owners had little knowledge as to why.

Thanks to new requirements from the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT), that is all about to change.

Beginning January 1, 2015, “the rule will provide customers with a fuller picture of the safety record of airlines in the transportation of animals,” the DOT stated in a press release.

The ruling requires that airlines file a report of the total number of animals transported, as well as how many were lost, injured or died during transport. Many airlines, according to Mashable, already have standards such as these. The ruling adds 12 additional airlines that have scheduled passenger service and at least one plane with more than 60 seats.

Animals included in this ruling include any warm- or cold-blooded animal kept as a pet. Additionally, any cat or dog shipped commercially on a scheduled passenger flight is also included.

The ruling applies only to animals held in the cargo section of the plane. Some pets, such as service dogs that sit with you, or animals that can fit in a small carrier on or under your seat, do not apply.

“Consumers deserve clear and accurate information when choosing transportation options,” U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx said of the rulings.

Considering the number of animals travelling by air, incidents are fairly rare.

However, the Humane Society says, you should consider alternatives to flying. “if you plan on bringing your pet on vacation,” the organization says on its website, “driving is usually a better option.”

“Animals flown in the cargo area of planes are killed, injured or lost on commercial flights each year,” the organization continued. “Excessively hot or cold temperatures, poor ventilation and rough handling are often to blame.”

A report from the DOT showed that in 2012, a total of 26 injuries and 29 deaths occurred concerning animals. For further information on recent months in 2014 and animal-related incidents, click here.

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