[nagdu] Emotional Support Animals on Planes
semisweetdebby at gmail.com
Wed Aug 5 03:27:58 UTC 2015
Although this does not affect us directly, I suppose it could.
Say Fido is flying with his family to Orlando and you with your
guide is also flying to Offlando. What happens if Fido starts an
unfriendly interaction with your guide, who is, of course, lying
quietly under your seat. Interesting. Debby and Nova
---- Original Message ------
From: Craig Phillips <craphi at gmail.com
Subject: Emotional Support Animals on Planes
Date sent: Mon, 3 Aug 2015 10:45:13 -0700
USA Today -
The fur is flying in pet-people clashes in the skies
Colleen Kaczka is done with pets on planes and their "crybaby"
And with good reason.
On a recent JetBlue flight from Newark to Orlando, an "emotional
support" dog belonging to a first-class passenger defecated
The stench filled the entire cabin and was almost unbearable to
and her son, who suffers from asthma.
"Airlines are enabling a bunch of selfish people who have no
the people around them," says Kaczka, a teacher from South
Perhaps. Confrontations between pets and passengers are at their
now, during the dog days of summer. More pets are flying than
only half the respondents in a recent survey say animals belong
passenger cabin of a commercial jet.
*Therapy dogs soothe stressed-out travelers in San Francisco*
But for every complaint like Kaczka's, I get another from a pet
disabled person who claims the exact opposite - that travel
and in particular, airlines, are not accommodating enough when it
to their furry friends.
Consider what happened to Christine Killian and her family when
tried to fly from Pittsburgh to Los Angeles with Sam the cat
The Killians were relocating to California, and they'd done
to ensure Sam was airworthy. They'd purchased a carrier, filled
the necessary paperwork and ensured he hadn't been fed before the
Still, Sam did what animals sometimes do - he went number two
before takeoff. The airline ejected the cat and their entire
"I was mortified," said Killian, a stay-at-home mom.
Eventually, the Killians flew to L.A. without Sam. The cat made
journey alone, using a pet transport, at a cost of $1,179.
These stories raise a bigger question: In the absurd world of air
travel, are pets more important than people?
For Killian, the answer was obviously "no." But her travel
be a backlash of sorts. It happened on US Airways, a carrier
particularly sensitive to flying pets. It infamously, and
allowed an "emotional support" pig
on one of its planes last year after promising it would never do
But many air travelers will experience what Kaczka did: an animal
for whatever reason, will be treated with the deference of an
There are several reasons for that. Federal regulations are
when it comes to "emotional support" animals, and protective of
rights. For example, the government sets minimum standards when
to an animal's carrier size, while curiously not setting minimum
standards for human passengers. Airlines also charge hefty pet
transportation fees - sometimes more than the human airfare - and
reluctant to lose the revenue.
Finally, and maybe most important, our values are shifting as a
Pets are no longer just afforded equal rights as people - in some
instances, they're treated better.
Donna Tinoco, who works for an advertising agency in Orlando, was
surprised when she found herself sitting across the aisle from a
medium-size dog in the first-class cabin on a transcontinental
recently. It was not in a carrier and wasn't a service animal.
She says although she loves dogs, there's a double standard. She
allowed to bring anything with nuts on the plane, because some
passengers might be allergic to it. Yet Tinoco has a mild
allergy to pet
"I was not thrilled to have a dog sitting next to me for six
Privately, airline executives will tell you that their hands are
this issue - that they're being pushed in one direction by
regulations and another by upset passengers. For its part,
offered Kaczka a $50 voucher for the "inconvenience."
But what airlines won't admit is that the deciding factor in all
the money. Often, pet owners have more money to spend than
asthmatic kids. So guess who gets to have their way?
The solution lies with airline passengers. They have to ask
if taking Fido on vacation is important enough to affect the
another passenger. And if there's a problem on board, they'll
decide whether moving to a different seat, away from an allergic
passenger, or creating a scene that could delay or divert the
worth their while.
Here's hoping they make the the right call.
*How to avoid a midair confrontation*
*. Call your airline.* If you have a severe pet allergy, contact
airline. Carriers can make special arrangements to remove
allergy-inducing materials from a flight with enough special
to let you move to another flight.
*. Take precautions. *Travelers like Tinoco, who have a mild
should always fly with a supply of Benadryl. If it's more
take off without a few EpiPens in your carry-on bag.
*. Enlist the crew. *Flight attendants are trained to handle
disagreements between passengers and other people's pets. The
say something, the more options they have. Best case scenario:
the staff before your flight leaves. Once the doors close, their
are limited, particularly on a sold-out flight.
/Christopher Elliott is a consumer advocate and editor at large
National Geographic Traveler. Contact him at chris at elliott.org
<mailto:chris at elliott.org>or visit elliott.org
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