Sendero Group Travel Blog

Follow Sendero travelers on their adventures using accessible GPS.

Sunday, May 08, 2011


Highlight of my return to the USA

Traveling internationally with a guide dog is tricky in terms of relief areas at airports. Almost without exception, they are outside the airport so if you are changing flights, you have to go out through security, find the relieving place and come back through security with all its fun procedures. On domestic flights, there often isn't enough time to do this and the overall flight time makes it manageable if you limit water and food before traveling. I do make a point of marking these relieving areas with GPS when I find them.

I often try to get a Service Director to take my dog on the tarmac but this only works 1 out of ten times. I did have success recently at the F gates in Chicago O'Hare where two policemen took me and Tank on the tarmac, something that hasn't happened for over 10 years.

So, why am I going to have a drink to celebrate over a dog relief issue? After my 8.5 hour flight from Geneva to Washington Dulles, I went through my normal drill and assumed I would have to go outside Dulles, not an easy
trek. I do have 3 hours so the time isn't the issue other than I can't make Tank wait until we get to Sacramento, 21 hours after he would have last been relieved.

I learned from an agent in the United Red Carpet Club about a "pet room" across from D1. I thought she was confused but sure enough, it is a dedicated pet relief area replete with a water bowl, baggies, hand sanitizer, fenced area with indoor-outdoor carpeting and even a fire hydrant. When you are finished with the room, you push a big red button and some sprinklers come on to self clean. Nothing worse than worrying if one's dog is going to have an accident or is uncomfortable. What a huge relief to know about this new facility at Dulles.

It is across from the D1 gate, near where you cross to the C Gates. There is a set of elevators right next to the doorway. A metal carpet strip crosses the hallway at the point where you turn into the room. Once I went in there
the first time, Tank made a bee-line for it when I came back to take a picture.

Please post this message far and wide. Apparently this room has been here for a year and nobody told me about it.

The things people get excited about!

It is truly amazing what a google search can turn up.

I don't have a dog, but I know lots of people who do and so I did a quick google search
Below is the first result from my search.
I'll quote part of the page and then provide the link:
The Department of Transportation (DOT) regulation designed to help airplane
passengers with service animals has gone into effect. As of May 13, 2009 all airlines must make
sure there are pet relief areas, and escorts to those relief areas, for any passenger
traveling with a service animal. Airlines and airports have been instructed to work
together to make this happen. As a result, airports everywhere are creating, upgrading and expanding pet relief areas that are open to all.
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