Cash-strapped Air Canada is set to allow cats and dogs to board aircraft cabin along with their owners as carry-on items, reversing its policy of confining the pets to the luggage compartment.
Beginning next month, for a fee of $100 on domestic round trips and $200 for overseas trips, the airline will allow cats and small dogs weighing up to 10 kgs to be stowed under their owner's seat as a carry-on item, the Toronto Star said on Thursday.
The newspaper said that Air Canada will allow up to two animals on its smaller planes and four animals on larger aircraft.
"The ability to travel with pets in the cabin is something people have been requesting. We believe this policy achieves a good balance that will ensure the health, safety and comfort of all our customers," the daily quoted Air Canada spokesman Peter Fitzpatrick as saying.
The moves changes its 2006 policy wherein pets were banished to the luggage department amid pressure from a handful of agencies that said severe cat or dog allergies can be aggravated by their presence in a closed airplane cabin, the report said.
It brings Air Canada's policy to par with its major competitor, WestJet Airlines Ltd, which has allowed pets in aircraft cabins for more than 10 years.