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Japan airlines refuse to allow pets in cabin despite animals’ fiery deaths in Tokyo crash

JAL and All Nippon Airways (ANA) have been under pressure to rethink their policies that require animals to travel in secure containers in the hold of aircraft, with pet-lovers pointing out that other international airlines permit animals to travel with their owners in the cabin.

Fukuoka-based Star Flyer also started permitting passengers to bring small dogs and cats aboard all domestic flights on January 15, in an effort to appeal to more travellers. According to the company’s website, passengers are permitted to have one pet with them in the cabin, with a maximum of two animals on any flight.

Star Flyer’s rules require that a pet remain in a crate and be assigned a seat alongside its owner in the rearmost seat rows. It charges 50,000 yen (US$340) for a seat occupied by a pet.

Although JAL and ANA both previously permitted animals to travel in their cabins, the airlines said they discontinued those policies in large part due to customer feedback.

“Passengers were in the past allowed to take their pets into the cabin, but we received many negative comments from other passengers about allergic reactions, while others complained about the smell and excessive noise and barking,” said JAL spokeswoman Saiko Kuwasaki.

“We considered the situation very carefully, but it was finally decided that pets on all JAL flights must now travel in the cargo hold.”

ANA operates a similar policy, said spokeswoman Anna Mukai. “For both domestic and international flights, the transportation of pets can only be accepted in the cargo hold,” she said.

“This is out of consideration for customers with allergies, and at the moment, we are not discussing changes to this policy as a result of the collision earlier this month,” Mukai said, adding that