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Discussion Starter #1
Hi guys,

My wife is arriving at the San Francisco Airport's international terminal next month. Does anyone know the dog policy there? I'm pretty sure I've seen people with dogs meeting incoming arrivals at the US Customs and Immigration exit. Searching that thar interweb, and SFO's website, the only dog information I could find indicates that they offer two pet relief areas, but that doesn't really address my question!

Thanks!
 

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Like, bringing your dog to meet her, or her bringing a dog from wherever she's coming from?
 

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Why would you even want to do that? There are people that are allergic to dogs, or fearful of dogs that are traveling thru there, so it isn't really fair to them. Plus, there is the risk a kid could run up to the dog, and in a stressful situation, be bitten.
Airports aren't places to bring dogs just for the heck of it. (I'm assuming it isn't a service dog, since you wouldn't be asking this question if it was).
 

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Why would you even want to do that?
I'm asking because I've seen other people do it on a few occasions. Nobody was bitten, nobody had an allergy attack, and nobody freaked out, and it wasn't a service dog.

I just don't remember if it was at SFO or not. It might have been in Europe. Airport terminals all blend together in my head.
 

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Animals fly into and out of airports all the time. I would ASSUME, though I can not give you absolute confirmation, that you'll be fine in the terminal itself, and the area outside it. Taking the dog to the gate is probably a 'no', because of security.
 

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Animals fly into and out of airports all the time. I would ASSUME, though I can not give you absolute confirmation, that you'll be fine in the terminal itself, and the area outside it. Taking the dog to the gate is probably a 'no', because of security.
Dogs in the terminal are supposed to be crated or in pet carriers. Just because some people violate that rule, doesn't make it ok. And some of those dogs you've seen are undoubtably therapy/service dogs.
 

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I have never, and I mean never, seen an airport with rules against animals in the terminal. In fact, there are usually signs up pointing toward potty areas, for dogs that are being shipped carry on and on layovers, and the occasional 'keep it on a leash or in your arms if you are asked to remove your pet while the crate is inspect'. Rules are rules, I agree, but airports are set up for animals to travel through them, too. (Also, allergies and phobias are not unique to non-service animals.)

(I am not advocating doing whatever you want - at all - or walking brazenly in with the assumption that it's fine, but again: I don't THINK there is a problem with a leashed dog in the terminal or areas outside it.)
 

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Discussion Starter #9
Dogs in the terminal are supposed to be crated or in pet carriers
If this is the rule, then it answers my question. Can you cite a specific reference for this in an airport's policy? I have not been able to, which is what led me to post my original question seeking the official dog policy for SFO. I enjoy hearing opinions, but in this case I'm really after the facts.

I'll try my luck with calling "the airport" and see if I can get a human, and let you guys know what becomes of it.
 

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I don't know about SFO, but I have seen well-mannered dogs walking to meeting their owners in the open areas in Charleston, SC ... which is a comparatively small - medium airport. I've also seen people let their small dogs out of the carrier at the gate in DFW, a very large airport, to stretch their legs before boarding. I imagine that was against the rules, but noone paid them any attention... except for cuteness factors.
 

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Hi guys,

My wife is arriving at the San Francisco Airport's international terminal next month. Does anyone know the dog policy there? I'm pretty sure I've seen people with dogs meeting incoming arrivals at the US Customs and Immigration exit. Searching that thar interweb, and SFO's website, the only dog information I could find indicates that they offer two pet relief areas, but that doesn't really address my question!

Thanks!
Look at this website.

Pet Friendly Airports


I see that SFO's pet policies are listed.

Contrary to what some people have said on this thread, NOT all airports are dog (or pet) friendly. You shouldn't assume that your local airport will be, and the level of "pet friendliness" varies considerably from airport to airport.

Do your research.
 

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Why would you even want to do that? There are people that are allergic to dogs, or fearful of dogs that are traveling thru there, so it isn't really fair to them. Plus, there is the risk a kid could run up to the dog, and in a stressful situation, be bitten.
Just wanted to say, this could apply to anywhere, even a dog friendly park. Obviously airports are different from the majority of places, but I think I'd look for another reason why not to bring a dog to one, especially of the OPs dog is trained and well-mannered. Dogs travel through airports pretty frequently so it's likely the allergic and fearful people are already prepared for coming across one on their journey.
 

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Discussion Starter #13
Look at this website.

Pet Friendly Airports


I see that SFO's pet policies are listed.
Thanks, I found that information when I was researching this question, prior to posting it here. But if you look closely, all of the hits I found (including the one you cite on petfriendlytravel, as well as SFO's official website) for "SFO Dog Policy" and related search queries mentioned the two Pet Relief areas at SFO, but didn't elaborate on what the official policy on dogs in other parts of the airport were -- for example, no mention is made of how to get your pet to one of the Pet Relief areas! Do you carry him in his crate? Just walk him on a leash? Let him run through the airport until he finds it? It's clear that not many people ask this question, so I assume common sense prevails here.

I'll try my luck with calling "the airport" and see if I can get a human, and let you guys know what becomes of it.
Wow, so I got a fairly prompt email message back from SFO, which I take as the 'official policy':

Thanks for your email. Sincerely appreciate your asking beforehand. It is a policy here that only service animals and thos4e being shipped are allowed in the terminal areas. Your kind adherence to that policy is very much appreciated. There are many working animals in the terminal, especially the arrivals level of our International facility, and that is one of the primary reasons we have this policy.

Very best regards,

Christopher Birch
Customer Service Manager
SFIA

So there you go, after much fanfare, the official policy! Case closed. And for the record, I have seen on two separate occasions, dogs in the SFO International Arrivals areas that were not wearing a service dog cape/bag/vest/etc, and were brought by people coming to meet arrivees. So, clearly, this rule is abused from time to time, but perhaps because it's so elusive.
 

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Thanks, I found that information when I was researching this question, prior to posting it here. But if you look closely, all of the hits I found (including the one you cite on petfriendlytravel, as well as SFO's official website) for "SFO Dog Policy" and related search queries mentioned the two Pet Relief areas at SFO, but didn't elaborate on what the official policy on dogs in other parts of the airport were -- for example, no mention is made of how to get your pet to one of the Pet Relief areas! Do you carry him in his crate? Just walk him on a leash? Let him run through the airport until he finds it? It's clear that not many people ask this question, so I assume common sense prevails here.



Wow, so I got a fairly prompt email message back from SFO, which I take as the 'official policy':

Thanks for your email. Sincerely appreciate your asking beforehand. It is a policy here that only service animals and thos4e being shipped are allowed in the terminal areas. Your kind adherence to that policy is very much appreciated. There are many working animals in the terminal, especially the arrivals level of our International facility, and that is one of the primary reasons we have this policy.

Very best regards,

Christopher Birch
Customer Service Manager
SFIA

So there you go, after much fanfare, the official policy! Case closed. And for the record, I have seen on two separate occasions, dogs in the SFO International Arrivals areas that were not wearing a service dog cape/bag/vest/etc, and were brought by people coming to meet arrivees. So, clearly, this rule is abused from time to time, but perhaps because it's so elusive.
I travel a lot, and have seen on all of the airport terminal doors (at the airports I've stopped at), signs saying "All pets must be crated, unless service animals". I'm sure that some of the uncrated dogs I've seen in the terminal, are owners violating this policy, but it is a policy at all of the airports I've been through. In some airports there are also signs in the baggage area/place where traveling animals are retrieved, that say, "animals must remain crated until outside of the building".
 

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And for the record, I have seen on two separate occasions, dogs in the SFO International Arrivals areas that were not wearing a service dog cape/bag/vest/etc, and were brought by people coming to meet arrivees. So, clearly, this rule is abused from time to time, but perhaps because it's so elusive.
Not all service dogs wear capes/bags/vest/etc.
 

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Yeah, I guess the bottom line is not to bring your dog into an arrivals area unless he's a service dog; or, you don't mind breaking the rules. At least, at SFO -- I assume most other airports are the same. Thanks for helping me confirm this.
 
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