A recent regulatory change has required that airports with over 10,000 passengers per year make available an animal relief area. While these areas have been mandated for service animals, the Department of Transportation has recognized that the areas can be used by all traveling pets (as well as by working TSA dogs).
What does this mean for you? If you’re flying with your dog, expect to see many–and we mean MANY–new relief areas for your dog, both inside and outside security. DOT estimates that 387 US airports are impacted by this new regulation; considering that the rule specifies each terminal have a facility, that means 849 service relief areas. And while many airports already offer facilities outside the secure area, this new ruling specifies that the required facilities be inside the secured potion of the airport unless a local service dog training association and the airport deem that it would be more useful outside of security.
The change is a boon to travelers making connections who often do not have time to leave the secured area of the airport.
Last week, on my trip to Pennsylvania, I had the chance to visit the Pittsburgh International Airport service dog relief area. As required by the new regulation, the area is well marked:
Enter the door and walk down to a short hallway to the unmanned facility:
As you can see, the facility was large and clean (and odor-free). Along with the “fire hydrant,” the room featured real grass and plenty of clean up facilities including poop bags and a sink…
…and even a wet room with a dog wash area for small dogs as well as large dogs…
You can also get a sense of the size of the room in this quick Instagram video I shot:
If you’ll be flying with your dog, spend a few minutes before your trip to locate the pet relief areas in your originating, connecting, and destination airports. You’ll find a list of pet relief areas in these handy posts:
- “Pet and Service Animal Relief Areas at U.S. Airports — Pet Friendly Airports,” PetFriendlyTravel.com
- “A guide to in-terminal airport pet relief stations,” Cheapflights.com