Service animals and other pets traveling through Fort Wayne International Airport (FWA), are now able to use their own indoor facilities in the terminal building. Walk through nearly any airport now and you will see a number of four-legged friends traveling alongside their human companions. Just like any other passenger traveling through the airport terminal, FWA staff want to ensure that these flying Fidos are given the best possible experience at FWA.
In early 2017, FWA began remodeling the restrooms at Gates 1 to 4, to include a Service Animal Relief Area (SARA). The three-month long project brought terminal improvements to humans and animals alike, with improved restroom facilities along with the installation of the SARA on the secured side of the terminal building. With the growing number of emotional support and service animals, as well as pets traveling on aircraft, airport officials identified that it is essential to have a place past the security checkpoint for pets to go when nature calls. Prior to the installation of the SARA, animals and their owners had to exit the secured area and go outside of the terminal building.
This new pet relief area is handicap accessible and features a number of amenities including a fire hydrant, moisture wicking and absorbing grass turf, plastic bags for solid waste, dedicated faucet with sprayer to wash down the artificial grass area after use, trash can and a lavatory area for owners to wash their hands. While the pet relief area was designed with service animals in mind, all pets traveling through the airport are welcome to access and use the facility.
The SARA also corresponds with one of FWA’s newest customer service initiatives, Hospitality PAWS. The Hospitality PAWS program began in October of 2016 in conjunction with Pets Assisting Well-Being and Success, Inc. (PAWS) a local certified therapy dog group that is part of the Alliance of Therapy Dogs. This program’s aim is to give FWA passengers a calm and comforting travel experience. The PAWS teams currently come to the airport multiple times a week for two-hour shifts, with more frequent visits during higher traffic seasons such as the holidays and spring break.
In addition to the new SARA, the community can expect to see several new upgrades and changes to the airport soon.
The next time you’re bringing your furry friend along for business or pleasure, don’t forget to treat it to the newest amenity that FWA has to offer – bringing customer service to humans and animals alike. Thank you for choosing FWA!