I think the reason why some people are having a difficult time understanding why there is such outrage on this policy change is because they have not witnessed or experienced a severe allergy emergency. Not everyone who has allergies experiences them the same way and it is important that everyone keep an open mind here. Also, in many instances with young children you do not know how severe their allergic reaction will be until you confine them into small spaces with the allergens. Whether that be a small apartment, automobile, or an airplane cabin.
There is a great deal of personal responsibility that people take when they are worried about their own health. Many people I know avoid visiting friends/family who have cats in their home due the glycoprotein that is secreted by the cat's sebaceous glands. Other people carry around the proper medications and emergency pens. Contrary to popular belief it is not the cat's fur that people are allergic to. It is what is secreted by their skin.
People *do* take responsibility and this is precisely why there is such a push back on this policy change because the one airline people with allergies (or worried about allergies) could rely on was Southwest Airlines and now due to poor revenue numbers they are changing a policy that severely impacts our health.
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I think your response to our allergic reaction concerns that simply consists of "service and emotional assistance animals onboard our flights for years and years" is woefully inadequate and possibly represents that Southwest has not thoroughly processed this new policy change.
It is true that service and emotional assistance animals have been allowed on your flights for years and years. However, there is a significant difference in the small number of service and emotional assistance animals and the "wide open" approach that will soon be enforced. It was rarely noticed by passengers when service animals and emotional assistance animals were on the plane and passengers had to offer proof that these animals were in fact needed by them (not just pay $75).
How seriously does Southwest Airlines view safety? That is the real question that needs to be addressed. This is a serious health safety issue and it is more of an issue because of the size of Southwest Airlines and the number of passengers you carry each day. Some people go into anaphylactic shock from being around cats and yet there is not even a mentioning of this in the new guidelines? I see FAQ about whether your pet can earn flight credit yet there is nothing about the health safety of your passengers? Is this some kind of joke? I don't understand this at all. What is the deal with this arbitrary number of five or less pets on the plane? What is the reasoning behind the number 5? How much research was done to reach this number?
People are not "pet bashing" here. We love animals in the appropriate settings. We are seriously concerned about the health safety of passengers on Southwest flights and it is terribly disappointing when the CEO and Southwest employees fail to effectively address this issue.
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I'm very disappointed that there is no mention in your guidelines about measures that will be taken to accommodate passengers with severe pet allergies.
I can already see a spike in on board medical emergencies due to someone's severe allergic reaction to cats in the cabin. Medical emergency landings are costly.
I know this seems like a great idea for increasing revenue and pleasing the pet owner population but has this been thoroughly thought through?
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