USA Today - Newest amenity at airports is one for the dogs


TODAY IN THE SKY - Harriet Baskas, Special for USA TODAY 10:33 a.m. EDT April 29, 2016

Pre-security pet relief areas outside airport terminals are a welcome amenity for air passengers traveling with service dogs, emotional support animals or pets.Representatives from GDF and JFKIAT cut ribbon on relief area.

But in a move that pooches and people with connecting flights applaud, pet potties are now popping up inside airport terminals, on the secure side.

Terminal 4 at John F. Kennedy International Airport — host to 32 domestic and international airlines and more than 60,000 passengers a day —  is the latest to add this pet-centric perk.

“We recognize the growing presence of animals in our terminal, and the significant increase in passengers traveling with pets, and we wanted to provide owners with a convenient location to relieve their animals without having to exit the terminal,” said Gert-Jan de Graaff, president and CEO of JFKIAT, the management company that operates the terminal.

JFKIAT worked with the Guide Dog Foundation to design the nearly 70-square-foot post-security pet relief area, which has decorative paw prints, an ornamental fire hydrant, fake grass, waste bags for clean ups, and a sink for people to wash their hands.

“By working collaboratively, we are ensuring that people who travel with assistance dogs have a more enjoyable and less stressful travel experience,” said Well Jones, CEO of the Guide Dog Foundation.

Terminal 4’s new pet restroom is being celebrated as the first indoor pet relief area at JFK, but it is not the airport’s first post-security pet area: JetBlue’s post-security outdoor terrace, which opened at Terminal 5 in July 2015, has a pet relief area too.

Seattle-Tacoma International Airport, San Diego International Airport, Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport, Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport, Memphis International Airport and a growing list of other airports have already added indoor pet relief areas, making trips with connecting flights less of a hassle for people traveling with pets.

The list should get much longer soon: There’s a U.S. Department of Transportation ruling mandating that all air terminals that serve more than 10,000 daily passengers have a post-security pet relief area by August 2016.