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WestJet & Air Canada Announce Ban on Large Pets During Holiday Travel Period

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Canadian airlines are drawing the ire of pet owners with a ban on large pets, citing limited space and an increased demand during the peak winter travel period.

WestJet Airlines and Air Canada will ban large pets on flights during the upcoming holiday season, according to CBC News. The embargo only applies to pets as checked baggage and is not applicable to pets accepted as carry-ons.

Citing its belief that the limited space available during the holiday travel season can pose a significant health risk for pets, WestJet’s embargo will go into effect on December 15 and last through January 6, 2015. The policy will apply to all WestJet and WestJet Encore flights. During this period, pets will not be accepted as checked baggage or cargo. Subject to restrictions, WestJet accepts birds, cats, dogs and rabbits as carry-on baggage.

Air Canada’s more extensive blackout runs from December 15 through January 12, 2015, for all Air Canada, Air Canada Rouge and Air Canada Express flights. During the blackout, Air Canada will not accept pets as checked baggage or cargo, except for pets traveling as cargo on certain direct international flights. The carrier will continue to accept pets — small dogs or cats only — as carry-ons, although restrictions apply. Air Canada points to increased passenger and cargo loads during the peak winter travel period as reason for the blackout.

While these seasonal embargoes are becoming standard procedure for airlines, they tend to draw the ire of pet owners. Some pet owners are changing travel plans to accommodate the ban, while other simply refuse to travel during the blackout period.

[Photo: iStock]

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