By Patrick Donachie
Service animals that travel through John F. Kennedy Airport can breathe a sigh of relief should they need to relieve themselves.
The airport opened its first post-security animal relief area April 27.
“We recognize the growing presence of animals in our terminal, and the significant increase in passengers traveling with pets,” Gert-Jan de Graaff, the president and chief executive officer of JFKIAT, the management company that operates the terminal, said about the new facility.
The area, located inside the airport’s Terminal 4, spans 70 square feet and includes space for pets to relieve themselves as well as a facsimile of a fire hydrant for dogs who are accustomed to using them to do their business.
The new space will stop travelers from having to bring their animals outside to relieve themselves outside the terminal and will save them an extra trip through security. The space was created in collaboration with the Guide Dog Foundation, a service animal training school in Smithtown, N.Y.
“By working collaboratively, we are ensuring that people who travel with assistance dogs have a more enjoyable and less stressful travel experience,” Wells Jones, the chief executive officer of the Guide Dog Foundation, said.
The U.S. Department of Transportation has mandated that air terminals which have more than 10,000 daily passengers must have pet relief areas post security by August.
Reach reporter Patrick Donachie by e-mail at pdona