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Old 01-08-2013, 06:46 AM   #1
Andtototoo
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Pet Free Flight?

I flew recently and a situation cropped up that I've never seen before. It was a small plane, but only half full. As we were getting buckled in, we all heard a cat meowing. A lot. Loudly. Incessantly. We were all looking around and it turned out that a woman had a cat in a carrier stashed under a seat.

The FA came over and told the woman that once the flight was in the air, she could take the cat out and let it "roam around."

The guy under whose seat the cat was stashed stood up and said he had bad allergies and he needed his seat changed and that the cat should NOT roam the cabin. (I spoke with him later in baggage claim and he said that allergy shots etc did not work on his cat allergy and he didn't think to take his allergy pill before going on board a plane because he's never had a cat on board before.)

ALL of the passengers in the immediate area immediately told the FA that they agreed that the cat should not be loose in the cabin. Now, the cat owner herself was very apologetic about the cat's meowing and its presence (and said she'd never let a cat loose in an airplane). But the FA just about had a fit that the "poor" cat wasn't going to be allowed to be "free" and told the allergic passenger she did not have to reseat him if she didn't want to and that he should get off the plane and take the next flight.

Of course, that was the last flight of the night. Oh and also -- he'd have to pay to rebook his flight. The FA was quite smug and smirky about his dilemma.

In the end, she did reseat him -- I think largely because even the cat owner was saying she was being ridiculous. The FA was complaining and carrying on and telling him how much he owed her for allowing him to move his seat. She also told him he should book a "pet-free" flight for all of his travel plans.

I've never heard of booking a pet-free flight. Is there such a thing? Or was this obnoxious FA blowing smoke?
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Old 01-08-2013, 06:57 AM   #2
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I've never heard of an animal being allowed to roam freely on a plane. I can't imagine that it is okay to do despite what the FA said. That's an odd one. Maybe they really like cats.
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Old 01-08-2013, 07:01 AM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Allison View Post
I've never heard of an animal being allowed to roam freely on a plane. I can't imagine that it is okay to do despite what the FA said. That's an odd one. Maybe they really like cats.
Ditto. That seems really odd to me, and VERY unsafe for the cat and fellow passengers!!
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Old 01-08-2013, 07:05 AM   #4
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My sister has traveled with her small dog in the cabin several times. According to airline policy, the dog is required to stay in his crate under the seat for the duration of the flight. She has, on occasion, taken the dog out of the crate and let it sit in her lap during the "cruising" portion of the flight. The flight attendants seem to look the other way, but if someone complained I can't imagine that they wouldn't quote airline policy and make her put the dog away.

I can understand why a FA would be reluctant to reseat a passenger if the cat was being transported according to airline policy *and* there was no place to move him to. However, if it was easy to move the guy *or* the cat wasn't being handled according to airline policy, I can't imagine why they wouldn't move him/or demand that the cat be put away. I just can't imagine that letting a cat roam freely in the cabin follows *any* airline's policy.

(And if I recall, when my sister buys her ticket, she is limited on her choice of flight times. They only allow a certain number of pets per flight, and some flights are pet free. I would imagine if you had horrible allergies, you might need to choose a pet-free flight.)
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Old 01-08-2013, 07:11 AM   #5
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It would have been an obnoxious FA. I would have reported him and the incident to the airline.

And, as a person owned by two cats, I realize if the cat had gotten out of the carrier in flight there is no way it could have been caught to be placed back in the carrier prior to the aircraft door being opened.
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Old 01-08-2013, 07:16 AM   #6
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I think the FA was off her rocker. I don't think it would ever be a good idea to let any type of animal roam a plane. Maybe she inspired the movie Snakes on a Plane. She insisted the owner let the snakes roam...


Aside from obviously being a bad idea for the current passengers, there would also be dander left for oncoming passengers. And what if the pet messes on the floor? That would smell for many flights to come.
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Old 01-08-2013, 07:27 AM   #7
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Some routes do not allow pets (like to Hawaii) but most flights do allow 2-3 pets on board at any given time.
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Old 01-08-2013, 07:37 AM   #8
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Originally Posted by *JoGo* View Post
I think the FA was off her rocker. I don't think it would ever be a good idea to let any type of animal roam a plane. Maybe she inspired the movie Snakes on a Plane. She insisted the owner let the snakes roam...
Ha -- quite a few of the passengers were making jokes about "Cats on a Plane!"
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I can understand why a FA would be reluctant to reseat a passenger if the cat was being transported according to airline policy *and* there was no place to move him to. However, if it was easy to move the guy *or* the cat wasn't being handled according to airline policy, I can't imagine why they wouldn't move him/or demand that the cat be put away. I just can't imagine that letting a cat roam freely in the cabin follows *any* airline's policy.
The plane was only half full so there were plenty of seats. Just seems like there was no reason for any of the FA's attitude, but this was Delta and in the last 2 years I've yet to have an entire round trip Delta flight without encountering one witch of a FA.



Quote:
And if I recall, when my sister buys her ticket, she is limited on her choice of flight times. They only allow a certain number of pets per flight, and some flights are pet free. I would imagine if you had horrible allergies, you might need to choose a pet-free flight.)
Just wondering how you find a pet-free flight since I've never seen that as an option when I've booked flights. Or is it something you really have to search for or use the airline directly to book?

Last edited by Andtototoo; 01-08-2013 at 07:45 AM.
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Old 01-08-2013, 07:58 AM   #9
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Originally Posted by Andtototoo View Post
Just wondering how you find a pet-free flight since I've never seen that as an option when I've booked flights. Or is it something you really have to search for or use the airline directly to book?
I think you'd have to call the airline. I know when my sister wants to take her pet, she can't book her flight online. She has to call the airline directly.

Other than my sister's flights, I've only seen a pet in the cabin one other time. I am not sure how common it is. Maybe it's really rare. Or maybe there are pets on most flights, and we just don't notice! (My dogs are too big to fit under the seat, so I've never tried to fly with them.)
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Old 01-08-2013, 08:04 AM   #10
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As someone with two cats, I'd take them with me in the cabin, but would never be foolish enough to let them loose. Have they ever heard the term "herding cats"?
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Old 01-08-2013, 08:06 AM   #11
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There was a small dog on our flight last week, but he was very well behaved in his carrier. Maybe the FA meant the lady could walk the cat on a leash? (thinking it might reduce the meowing) Anyway, with plenty of room, she should have at least reseated the guy without any fuss!
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Old 01-08-2013, 08:07 AM   #12
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I can't imagine a flight attendant acting so rudely to a passenger, this story seems a bit off to me. If I were that passenger I would have just gotten up and taken a seat further away from the cat . I don't think a flight attendant would have any issue with that at all.
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Old 01-08-2013, 08:20 AM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Cheshire Figment View Post
And, as a person owned by two cats


Pets in cabin aren't all that uncommon at least at the airline I worked for, but they have to be in a waterproof crate that fits under the front seat.
I occasionally allowed people to take out their pets, although that were always dogs as they are more willing to stay put but only when the entire row and the row in front were empty and the pet stayed on a blanket. Even that was against the rules, but sometimes the dogs panicked and were less disturbing outside their crates.
Letting a pet in cabin roam free is just crazy, unsafe, unhygienic and above all I doubt that the cat would even have enjoyed it.
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Old 01-08-2013, 08:29 AM   #14
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My son has allergy issues and DD has allergic reactions to cats. Nothing severe so I am not sure I would have asked to be reseated but would have been really upset to see a cat roaming free.

I would definately call the airline and report this FA.
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Old 01-08-2013, 08:31 AM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Andtototoo View Post
I flew recently and a situation cropped up that I've never seen before. It was a small plane, but only half full. As we were getting buckled in, we all heard a cat meowing. A lot. Loudly. Incessantly. We were all looking around and it turned out that a woman had a cat in a carrier stashed under a seat.

The FA came over and told the woman that once the flight was in the air, she could take the cat out and let it "roam around."

The guy under whose seat the cat was stashed stood up and said he had bad allergies and he needed his seat changed and that the cat should NOT roam the cabin. (I spoke with him later in baggage claim and he said that allergy shots etc did not work on his cat allergy and he didn't think to take his allergy pill before going on board a plane because he's never had a cat on board before.)

ALL of the passengers in the immediate area immediately told the FA that they agreed that the cat should not be loose in the cabin. Now, the cat owner herself was very apologetic about the cat's meowing and its presence (and said she'd never let a cat loose in an airplane). But the FA just about had a fit that the "poor" cat wasn't going to be allowed to be "free" and told the allergic passenger she did not have to reseat him if she didn't want to and that he should get off the plane and take the next flight.

Of course, that was the last flight of the night. Oh and also -- he'd have to pay to rebook his flight. The FA was quite smug and smirky about his dilemma.

In the end, she did reseat him -- I think largely because even the cat owner was saying she was being ridiculous. The FA was complaining and carrying on and telling him how much he owed her for allowing him to move his seat. She also told him he should book a "pet-free" flight for all of his travel plans.

I've never heard of booking a pet-free flight. Is there such a thing? Or was this obnoxious FA blowing smoke?
I'm going to call you on this one -- FAA rules do not allow animals (even service animals) to freely "roam around" the plane. Aside from the obvious annoyance and danger to passengers, it would be dangerous for the cat AND the FAs, as they try to service the cabin. I'd bet that either someone misheard something or the FA was kidding and that got missed in translation. Or ... you're exaggerating. Which airline was this?

As for a "pet free" flight, yes, you can ask if there are any animals scheduled to be on your flight, but you can't call and say, "I need a pet-free flight" and expect the booking agent to go through every manifest and guarantee you one. There are airlines that have less welcoming policies towards pets on planes, so doing a little research to find out which airlines carry the most and the fewest pets will help the chances of finding a pet-free flight. A travel agent might do that for you -- I know there are TAs that handle all sorts of requests, so there must be some who will make sure that there are no animals on a particular flight.

But really ... it's not at all common -- even in this day and age of "our pets are just like people" sensibilities -- to see pets on planes. It's not like it's something someone has to worry about, IMO. I flew 47 flight legs in the US, Canada and Central America last summer, on a half-dozen airlines. There was not a single flight that had an animal on it.

I've flown with both cats and dogs -- with animals in the baggage section as well as in the passenger cabin. There are strict limits as to how many pets per flight (animal-to-human ratio), based mostly on safety and the ability to evacuate both people AND animals should there be an emergency.

The FA was being snarky to the passenger, which should be reported. But I simply don't believe that any FA on any major domestic carrier told a passenger that they could let their cat "roam around the plane".


Last edited by WDSearcher; 01-08-2013 at 08:52 AM. Reason: Because 'their' and 'there' are two different words.
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