Small animals will still be allowed in the cabin; ban only applies to new requests
Air Canada has stopped accepting new requests for pets to travel in the baggage compartment of its flights until Sept. 12, the airline said Wednesday, as major airports around the country face travel delays, flight cancellations and logistical challenges.
Small animals will still be allowed in the cabins of most flights, provided they can lie down in a carrier under the seat in front of the passenger.
Bringing a pet in the cabin will cost $50 for flights within Canada and the U.S. (excluding Hawaii), the airline said, and $100 for international flights.
Due to current airport delays, for the safety and comfort of pets, we will not be accepting new requests for pets travelling in the baggage compartment until Sept. 12, 2022, Air Canada said via email in response to questions from CBC News.
"All current pet bookings will be honoured.
This does not affect trained service animals, nor smaller pets travelling in the cabin, a spokesperson said, adding that the airline often has an embargo on pets in the cargo hold on select routes during certain times of the year,
particularly for destinations where there is extreme heat.
For customers booking flights who wish to travel with a pet that cannot be in the cabin with them, there are still several safe solutions available via Air Canada Cargo, the airline said.
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The company did not respond to questions about what conditions would have to be in place in order for the ban to be rescinded. It also did not provide data on whether any pets have been lost or sickened during recent airport chaos.
Air Canada currently leads the world in flight delays
The change comes as Air Canada ranked No. 1 on a list of major world airlines with the most flight delays on Tuesday for at least a fourth day in a row, according to the tracking service FlightAware (new window).
The tracking company Jazz Aviation, which provides regional service for Air Canada, and Air Canada Rouge took second and third place.
WATCH | Canadian airlines among worst performers for delays, recent data shows:
Sixty-five per cent of Air Canada's flights arrived late on Tuesday, according to FlightAware.
Toronto's Pearson airport took the top spot for flight delays by location on Tuesday; it was the only airport on the planet to see more than half of all departures delayed.
Globally, the airline industry has struggled to keep up with rising travel demand, as airlines and airports look to rebuild staffing levels after thousands of workers left during the COVID-19 pandemic.
With files from The Canadian Press