Thanks to The Times of India for this article.
Guide dogs allowed to fly
4 May 2008
NEW DELHI: A few days after Bollywood star Rekha was stopped from taking her pet pooch with her onto a plane, the aviation ministry has approved the Directorate General of Civil Aviation’s (DGCA) new rules allowing dogs to fly. But don’t worry about dogfights in the air. The new rule applies only to those canines guiding humans “with disability and/or reduced mobility”.
The DGCA is likely to notify the new civil aviation requirement (CAR) this week, after which it will become immediately effective. “No airline shall refuse to carry persons with disability or reduced mobility and their assistive aids/devices, escorts and guide dogs, including their presence in the cabin. Such persons or their representatives (should) at the time of booking and/or check-in for travel inform the airline of their requirement,” the CAR says.
A senior DGCA official said the visually challenged would not need to buy separate tickets for their guide dogs as they could be seated near their feet. “But the dog must be very well trained so that co-passengers don’t feel uncomfortable,” said the official. Presumably, sleeping dogs will be allowed to fly but not barking ones.
The draft CAR was prepared late last year, when it was first reported in TOI. But it ran into trouble with carriers over a proposal that airlines must provide all assistance to the physically challenged free of cost.