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Study Reveals 10 Most Pet-Friendly Airports in US

They’re equipped with pet-relief stations and pet parks.

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AUSTIN, TX — A new study identifies the “10 most pet-friendly airports” in the U.S.

Results from the study by Upgraded Points “illustrated a growing number of pet-friendly airports, each fully equipped with pet-relief stations and pet parks,” according to a press release from the company.

For those who travel through airports with pets, finding terminals to accommodate these special travelers can be a stressful event, the firm notes. New federal regulations requires each airport that serves over 10,000 passengers a year must maintain pet relief stations to provide for service animals of all types. The Upgraded Points study evaluated these larger airports and their current facilities.

The study “avoided awarding merit points for simple compliance with the federal mandate,” according to the release. Instead, points were awarded for those airports that went above and beyond regulations — for example, by extending pet relief stations to include law enforcement dogs, emotional support animals and transit pets.

The company adds: “Similarly, many pet relief areas were rather rudimentary, using fake grass, or those areas were hidden in out-of-the-way places within terminals. As a result, points were also awarded in the study to those airports that offered pet parks with real grass, faux fire hydrants, ease-of-accessibility and ample space for pets to run and play.”

Other amenities also played into the points awarded, like fully fenced areas, available water fountains or onsite boarding and daycare facilities.

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The top pet-friendly airport is John F. Kennedy International Airport. The release explains:

“With multiple terminals that have access to post-security pet relief areas, JFK ranked highest in the Upgraded Points study. One terminal boasts a 4,000 square foot outdoor garden patio that is open to both passengers and pets. This area contains tables and chairs, with a seating capacity of around 50 people. Other areas have pet bathrooms set with artificial grass (with built-in drainage), replicas of fire hydrants, sinks and waste receptacles.”

JFK also offers 24/7 animal care and veterinary services for all kinds of pets: dogs, cats, horses, birds, livestock and exotic animals. In addition, American Airlines has installed a pet relief area at its terminal departures level, with a 1000-square-foot grassy area for pets to relax after a long flight.

The top 10:

  • John F. Kennedy International Airport
  • Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport
  • Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport
  • Los Angeles International Airport
  • Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport
  • Austin–Bergstrom International Airport
  • Reno-Tahoe International Airport
  • Dallas Love Field Airport
  • Denver International Airport
  • Dallas/Ft. Worth International Airport

The study further details other airports’ pet facilities across the country.

“From Denver to JFK, there were many outstanding airports featured in our article,” said Upgraded Points founder Alex Miller. “Though required by law, many airports choose to offer services beyond what is necessary. They go out of their way to accommodate not just necessary service animals, but also beloved pets of all types.”

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More information on the study is available here.

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