The story about the dog in the Crystal gateway Marriot posted by Stepping Stones made me wonder if anyone had encountered an issue of this type in an airplane:
We were flying to the west coast last week and there was a Pit Bull dog that someone was bringing with them. He didn't have a seat (as the airlines don't sell them to pets as far as I know) and he was obviously too big to fit under the seat. But, he was a very friendly guy. Everyone loved him and was happy to play and talk 'dog chat' with him. If you are wondering how we were able to do that....he was in the front row of the coach cabin at the bulkhead. Not in a cage, not restrained, but out and about! Now, I had no problem with it but I'm wondering if anyone else has ever encountered a situation of this type? I've never seen it in all my years of travel. I know they will let assistance animals in the cabin, but this fellow was not one. He was just friendly and enjoying his coach class status. Nobody knew how, or why he got there (or at least if the crew did, they weren't sharing the story. No matter, he was a better passenger than some others on the flight (long flights always make some folks grumpy).
Has anyone in travel land ever experienced this?
During the two times I lived in France for a long period, I took my cat in the cabin with me each time (and back). The first time was on the old TWA 800, so my poor cat had to take a bus from Cape Cod to Logan Airport, fly to JFK, then to Paris. It was in the first year that an American-run airliner had followed the suit of European counterparts, which always allowed small pets in the cabin (for a fee, of course). Because it was the first time, I was allowed to take out my cat on a leash and let her sit on me. The cabin crew made a big deal of her. But when I took my cat with me again in 1995, things had changed. There was still the requirement to pay a (larger) fee, as well as to have a carrier that fit under the seat in front. But this time, she was absolutely not allowed out. And if anyone is thinking of traveling with your pet, if you're planning to use tranquilizers try them at home. On the first trip, my cat seemed to have a hallucinogen experience where one moment she was catatonic and the next throwing herself at the sides of her cage.
That said, I certainly don't think unrestrained dogs should be allowed to roam a plane, any more than I would have let my cat go further from me in the first instance.
It was really surreal as this dog weighed about 85 pounds. Very pleasant, but I'm befuddled as to how he got to sit with the folks in coach without a seat. Totally sold out. Not an empty seat to be found. In addition, as you travelers know, they'll throw you off the plane if you try to put anything on the floor in the first row of seats after the bulkhead in coach or first class.....but there he sat very patiently.
I guess in this case, as Pedigree says....dogs rule!
In a third world (and no I will not name it) country I sat with a person holding a smallish pig on her lap. I was tempted to ask her why and how he got on board, but the little porker was so cute, he took my breath away! In a good way that is. So, I have seen animals wandering on planes, albeit tiny ones in remote places.
Given the horrible cramped, service-missing state of airline travel these days perhaps therapy dogs should be allowed to freely roam on board to calm us down and reduce our blood pressure? And cats too Professor. Works in hospital and nursing home venues. And the dogs are more able to listen to their seatmates than I would be able. Plus most are not big drinkers!
I would draw the line at snakes on board and most rodents (except perhaps Rabbits)
Tef6178 - On my way back from Mississippi a couple of weeks ago, I suddenly heard a dog barking. It turns out that a passenger had brought their dog on board in one of the travel containers. Loving dogs, I ambled to the back of the plane hoping to at least get a glimpse of the beast - no such luck. I, as my fellow Insiders have commented, have never seen a dog other than a service animal loose in the cabin. I'm especially surprised as pit bulls have such a bad reputation (undeserved I may add if the owner has brought them up well. I've met some pit bulls that were real lap dogs.) It will be interesting to see if anyone else has a similar experience.
Yes, I've heard all the bad 'reports' regarding pit bulls too, but this dog was absolutely the friendliest dog I have ever met........other than my little guy in my picture. In the neighborhood we live in, people come by the house on their golf carts and honk their 'horn' so we will let him out to go for a 'ride' on their golf cart. Everybody knows 'Eddie'. I walk him around the block (with the other two we have) and it literally takes us about an hour and a half to walk around a block because he wants to stop and see everyone and everyone comes out to pet him if they see him! He also knows every house another dog lives in and tries to head up their driveway and looks for them when we go by if they are not out. He's a character!
I was on a flight about a year ago and had the pleasure of sitting in a bulkhead seat next to a plainclothed police officer traveling with his bomb-sniffing German Shepherd. He sat at our feet the entire flight and was a welcome companion.
These stories remind me of my former mutt companion who suffered through terrible travel 'experiences' when we were moving. On our first move from STL., I checked her as baggage on a nonstop flight (TWA or AA) from STL to BWI. Unfortunately, she did not arrive on my flight. After spending several stressful hours waiting to learn what happened to her, the airline finally discovered her in Chicago. Finally, 36 hr after I had checked her in, she arrived at my new home and was shaking from head to toe. I'm sure that she had experienced very rough flights because there were severe thunderstorms in the areas of her flights. She quickly recovered and enjoyed her new yard and home.
Three years later, we had to move again and I had to fly her to our new home. As would be expected, it was very difficult to get her into her travel kennel. However, everything went well until I had to check her in at the Harrisburg airport. Due to the security requirements, I had to take her out of the kennel while they checked it. When I tried to put her back in, she slipped out of her collar and decided it would be fun to run figure eights through the Harrisburg airport lobby. After entertaining other passengers for about 15 minutes, several helpful employees helped me to get her back into her kennel (no easy task). This seemed to calm her down and we had an uneventful trip to our new home. I decided at that point that I would never fly her anywhere again.
We always used to take our dogs to our Caribbean home for the winter when we went in years past. I can't imagine how stressful it must have been not having your dog arrive at your destination. Thank goodness the ending was a good one. It was stressful enough just wondering if they were OK in the belly of the plane!