Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

Letters of the day: Pets on a plane

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Janice Rosen believes that people exaggerate when they have pet allergies (Owners, airlines, doctors debate ban, Aug. 24). WestJet believes their air filters get rid of pet allergens. I don't exaggerate, and the filters don't work.

I was on WestJet flight this past June and had an allergic reaction to cat dander. Prior to boarding the plane I asked at check-in if a cat would be on the plane. I was told there were no pets on board, but what I wasn't told was that a cat had been on the previous flight that landed in Winnipeg. This was the plane I was boarding to go on my vacation.

I took my antihistamine because I never know if there are cat owners on the plane and I wanted to ensure I didn't have an allergic reaction. Unfortunately for me, half way through the flight I started to have an allergic reaction so I took another antihistamine hoping it would ease my symptoms. It didn't, so I progressed to taking my next prescription medication, which didn't work so I took my third prescription pill which started to work.

I would have been forced to use my EpiPen had the third pill not worked to ease my symptoms. If I had to take my EpiPen it would have resulted in a delay and inconvenience of all the other passengers on the flight as they would have had to deal with my medical emergency. The filters did not protect me from the cat allergens.

WestJet is aware that this event happened as I contacted them as soon as I arrived home from my vacation and they told me there was nothing they could do about it other than to offer me a different flight if a cat is on my flight. This is useless if you are flying with a family for a vacation because I am flying a peak times during school vacations where seats aren't readily available.

I hope the Canadian Medical Association is able to convince the airlines to take this seriously before someone has a deadly allergic reaction.

JANICE Koverzin



Re: People over pets (Letters, Aug. 26). The only "narcissistic and entitled" thing I see is allergy sufferers who feel they should not have to be responsible for their own health and safety. They make the conscious decision to travel in public without the means to protect themselves. Banning pets from the cabin won't even eliminate pet fur and dander in the cabins because pet owners will still be allowed to sit beside Russ Tychonick.

But, if by some crazy twist, a ban on pets is imposed, I will also call for an immediate ban all food and drink, deodorant, cologne, perfume, shoes, etc. There are documented cases of people in this world allergic to nearly all food and drink, artificial scents and chemicals from shoemaking.

WestJet and other airlines do what they can to make as many people comfortable as possible. They must be doing a great job of it so far, since they're still making money.

Jeff Miller


Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition August 27, 2011 A17

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