JAKE HARDIMAN | Simple Flying

The Big Apple’s major airports have various systems in place to ensure a smooth ride for traveling dogs.

August marks National Dog Month, with this Saturday also being International Dog Day. Our canine friends are a rare sight at airports and on airplanes, but their comfort is an essential factor when they do need to travel by air. With this in mind, let’s take a look at what New York City’s major airports are doing on this front.

New York JFK Airport

As a general rule, only service animals are allowed to travel in the cabins of modern passenger aircraft to accompany the owner to whom they provide support. Otherwise, standard pets have to be shipped as cargo, which, when poorly done, can result in relatively poor conditions and many hours confined to a small crate.

However, The ARK at New York JFK Airport looks to ease the worries of both dogs and their owners by providing a ‘Pet Oasis’ on a 24/7 basis. This handling center offers a wide range of facilities that allow dogs the space and time to relax while in transit and minimizes the time they have to spend in a crate.

Photo: Port Authority of New York & New Jersey

Among the amenities available are a pet spa and a 4,000-square-foot outdoor patio garden. Interestingly, as well as supporting standard pets being shipped as cargo, The ARK’s website also notes that the facility provides “short-term care to support companion animals who are traveling on alternate flights.” This means they have somewhere to go in the event of delays or cancelations.

Newark Liberty International

Meanwhile, over at Newark Liberty International (EWR), the airport has systems to support service dogs within its terminal buildings. According to the facility’s website, it is home to various Service Animal Relief Areas (SARAs), allowing it to “conform with the federal Air Carrier Access Act, which mandates such areas for service animals who travel with air passengers.”

Signposted by internationally-recognized symbols, Pet-Friendly Travel notes that these areas are located both pre and post-security, giving service dogs and their owners greater flexibility. In terms of how these areas are set up, Dog-Friendly Areas adds that they “typically consist of a fenced-in space with an artificial grass or mulch surface,” which “provides a secure environment for dogs to roam.”

Photo: Port Authority of New York & New Jersey

As pictured above, Newark Airport is also home to an outdoor dog park. Being situated outside of the terminal building, the advantage of this area is that dogs can use it to stretch their legs in an off-leash manner. Contrastingly, service dogs generally have to be leased or harnessed within the terminal, where passengers traveling with such animals can use special check-in desks.

LaGuardia Airport

Over at New York LaGuardia Airport (LGA), passengers previously had the choice of five different pet relief areas. According to Dogs On Planes, four of these facilities were located pre-security, with the only post-security space found between Terminals C and D. This consists of an area of artificial grass and hygiene equipment such as a sink, a hose, and doggy bags.

However, the opening of the airport’s new Terminal B has seen an increase in pet relief areas. This facility features four pet relief areas of its own, of which one is located landside, with the other three being found post-security.

Sources: Dog-Friendly AreasNewark Liberty International AirportPet-Friendly TravelThe ARK

This article originally appeared on Simple Flying: National Dog Month: How Do New York City’s Airports Support Canine Travelers?

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