Are Dogs Allowed in the Airport to Pick Someone Up?

Be Cautious About Taking Your Dog to the Airport Just to Pick Up

Most of the time, the short answer is no. Airports aren’t designed for animals unless they’re service ones or traveling.

Especially with post-911 security, airports are very hesitant to allow anything that could disrupt the flow. Animals could easily get lost in the crowd and get hurt.

Allergies and phobias have to be taken into consideration besides. People could put in complaints as a result, too.

It could also be overwhelming for your dog. For example, if your dog is anxious or not used to being in crowds, it could get aggressive or lie down with its paws over its ears.

In December 2017, a five-year-old girl at the Portland Airport was bitten in the face by a dog that was free to roam around at the airport.

The article doesn’t tell the whole story but said that the girl was petting the dog while its owner was waiting for the same flight.

There have been other similar reported incidents as well. This is one thing that has led most airports to become increasingly strict about allowing dogs.

Also, if you end up waiting longer than anticipated, your dog may need to relieve itself before boarding. This is a problem since most airports don’t have designated relief areas.

Even if your dog can be there, it will most likely need to be on a leash, harness, or in a kennel the entire time.

Comparable Exceptions

Denver International Airport

Denver International is one of the most pet-friendly airports in the country.

They provide relief areas at the Jeppesen Terminal and the A, B, and C gates.

The relief areas are primarily for traveling pets, however, you can ask if you’re okay to take your waiting dog to them. Be sure to clean up after your dog.

They also have a pet resort called Paradise 4 Paws. It’s for pets that will be staying overnight. It includes everything from security webcams to a bone-shaped swimming pool.

As far as having dogs there to pick someone up, they allow only service dogs for that.

They don’t see the point in doing otherwise if the dog isn’t traveling or staying at the resort.

JFK International

The JFK is a very pet-friendly terminal. However, dogs must be on a leash or harness the whole time.

The JFK has three different pet relief areas. Be sure you clean up after your dog.

San Francisco and San Diego International Airports

San Francisco and San Diego both have designated relief areas for traveling pets. So be sure to ask if you’re okay to take your waiting dog to them.

The San Fransisco airport has lodging services, and the San Diego has a Ready, Pet Go program, which lets travelers relieve some stress by interacting with the dogs.

However, they don’t make their policies for allowing dogs in the arrival or departure lounge very clear. So you will need to ask them about that ahead of time.

Dulles International

Dulles does let dogs hang out at the terminal and other public spaces as long as the dog is on a leash or harness the whole time.
Relief areas are designated for traveling dogs only, though.

Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport

Phoenix Sky allows all dogs to use their pet relief areas regardless of whether they’re traveling.

However, if they’re hanging out in the terminals, they need to be kept inside of kennels or similar containers unless they’re service dogs. Service dogs being the exception.

Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport

The Minneapolis-St. Paul offers boarding services for traveling and other pets.

However, unless they’re service dogs, they have to be inside a kennel unless they’re in the boarding service.

What Makes Dogs Being at Airports So Complicated?

Some airports tend to be more ambiguous than others about reinforcing their rules about dogs.

The main reason is that more airports are seeing more dog owners violate the rules and feel that they have to accommodate everyone in some way or the other.

Some pet owners like to include their dogs in everything and plain don’t care about the rules. Others literally don’t see the potential harm in having their dogs there.

With all the tight security these days, airports are stressful enough for people, which can easily rub off on the dog.

However, even if that’s not the case, the dog can get very stressed from not understanding what’s going on.

Dogs also tend to think that the whole world is their free territory. Airports are no exception.

Final Thoughts on Are Dogs Allowed in the Airport to Pick Someone Up?

Again, unfortunately, there are so many things that could go wrong with dogs being at airports.

First, most airports simply aren’t designed for dogs.

With the exceptions listed above, most airports don’t have proper services for dogs. Most don’t have any place for dogs to exercise, eat or relieve themselves.

With exceptions like those listed above, most airports also don’t have any places to board dogs.

The constant crowds, hustle, and noise can be frightening to some dogs, especially for those who are naturally anxious.

The stress of the owner or handler can easily rub off on the dog.

Anxious dogs have been known to do anything from losing bladder control to biting humans.

As was the case with the girl at the Portland Airport, damage done by dogs can be grounds for damage payments and even lawsuits for the airports and the owners.

On that note, if you’re in any doubt, unless your dog is a service one, don’t take it to the airport at all. Instead, let it happily greet you at home.