Pet Friendly Airport Suggestions
We like to keep an eye on various airports and the pet travel amenities they offer, and over time a few things have been made clear: Many facilities have come a long way, but there is still room for improvement.
We've heard that a few airports have plans in the works to improve their facilities; for example Reed Barnes, a representative from Louis Armstrong New Orleans International Airport (the MSY pet relief area is pictured at left) told us that they're researching what it would take to install a few pet areas inside of security. We'd imagine (and we hope) that other savvy airports are doing the same.
Until then we can continue to make the best of pet relief areas at the airports and practice good pet travel etiquette by behaving respectfully.
We can also reach out to airports via social media and let them know what we think. Thoughtful feedback and saying "Thanks" when thanks are due will certainly keep the momentum going.
Here are a few focused suggestions, a wish-list if you will, for airports to consider as they continue to expand and improve their pet friendly accomodations.
1. Help keep pet friendly travel simple. Sometimes just having a pet relief area at an airport feels like a blessing, but ideally each airport would have a relief station inside of security. During a layover especially, there's not always time to trek outside the airport itself when your dog needs to take care of business.
2. Expand. To truly qualify as pet friendly, an airport should have more than one area. Large hubs can take a few minutes to traverse, so a relief area, even a small one, in each major terminal would truly live up to the idea of "relief."
3. Be Accessible. This is an airport, not a scavenger hunt. Clearly label the pet areas, advertise them on the web site and feature them on airport maps. Be sure that both airport and airline staff can provide assistance to pet travelers who may have questions and time constraints.
4. Engage with Pet Owners Using Social Media. Many airports realize that Twitter and Facebook are not just passing trends, but not everyone seems to have jumped onboard. Updating followers with information and tips, letting people connect to one another, and building a community of pet travelers will show the world that the facility is up-to-date and ready for whatever comes along.
5. Show some personality. Follow the example of places like Atlanta and Phoenix, who have made their pet areas stand apart with distinctive artwork and a little something extra. Traveling can be a hassle, and unexpected details, however small, can make the whole experience more bearable.
Pet owners, how do you think airports could help make travel more pet friendly? Let us know!
Planning a move and need to arrange cargo travel for your pets? Contact us for a consultation.
Editor's Note: This post was originally published in November 2010 and has been updated with new information.