While travel with pets is highly in demand, it’s also relatively new for many people and places. Airports have made service animals welcome for years, but those that begin to explicitly make pets welcome too can stand out and become a trusted partner for travelers with pets.
Here are ways to welcome pets and their people to your airport.
- Communicate with those planning travel. On your website and social media, be explicit that your airport welcomes both service animals and pet travelers. Highlight the pet amenities available at the airport and provide tips for travelers with pets. Feature pet travelers on your social media to show you recognize and celebrate the bond between pets and their traveling pet parents.
- Communicate clearly at the airport. Include information for travelers with pets and service animals on airport maps, digital information boards, audio messaging and other signage. Include signage near security that helps those traveling with pets know how to go through security together. Have a phone number, QR code or other resource for pet parents to ask questions or report issues while at the airport.
- Be specific about pets. Most airports are required to have at least one indoor service animal relief area. Make sure pet parents know these areas are for their use as well, for example by including a paw print and/or “pets welcome” message next to the typical service dog icon.
- Offer more pet-focused amenities. Provide multiple relief areas for pet travelers, including curbside options pre-security and indoor options post-security. Make sure amenities are conveniently available for both arriving and departing pets in all terminals. Evaluate whether you can add an off-leash dog park to give pets a chance to burn off excess energy before or after their flight.
- Welcome pets everywhere you can. Today, people consider pets part of the family. This means they may bring a pet along to see off a traveler or welcome home family. Make pets welcome in both indoor and outdoor areas, including having amenities and communication about pets in those areas.
- Train airport personnel, volunteers, ambassadors and vendors. Provide resources and/or training to help those working at your airport interact safely and confidently with pets. Have a pet behavior specialist offer training regularly to these key teams. Share resources like our “Pet Behavior 101” guide to help them understand what pets may be communicating. Plus, provide a guide to amenities inside and outside the airport so they can guide pet travelers to the services they need.
Want more tips? Check out the full Pet-Friendly Airport Toolkit for how-to’s and best practices to help plan pet-friendly policies, amenities and programming for airports.