Thursday, July 07, 2011

Dogs on a Plane...What the?

We have been flying Jet Blue Airlines for a number of years now.  We like their direct flights to various locations.  So, even though we have to travel to Boston to depart, instead of much closer Manchester airport, we prefer the single flight instead of layovers.  Each flight has been efficient, clean and the staff courteous.
Our last flight was no different. EXCEPT for the addition of a dog on the flight.

Now, let me be clear, I respect that people love their pets.  (I love my pets).  Being on a 3 hour flight is one thing.  But, being on a flight with a yelping dog is a form of torture -- for the passengers as well as the dog.
The dog started yelping immediately, before take off.  Clearly, the dog was nerved up.  But, after a few minutes, of the passengers patiently waiting for the barking to stop, it was clear that we were in for a long flight.
The dog continued to yelp the entire flight.  There were some pauses in the barking, but the final 30 minutes were excruciating.  The passenger in front of me was irate -- he went so far as to tell the flight attendant to quiet the dog or he would do it for them!  The flight attendant kept his cool, but told the passenger that he was not allowed to threaten anyone aboard the flight.

When we landed, just before we departed the plane, another passenger calmly told the pet owner that if she was going to travel with the dog, then she should consider sedating him.  The pet owner was horrified at the thought of sedating her dog and refused.  Was she unaware of the barking that we all endured for the past 3 hours?  The passengers were angry.  To be honest, I thought there was going to be a mob scene.

I sent an email to Jet Blue relaying what happened to their "SPEAK UP" program that accepts comments from passengers.  Two weeks later Jet Blue responded back to me, explaining their pet policy and apologizing for my uncomfortable flight. In their response to me, they explained that they try and balance out the needs of pet owners with travelers.
Basically, airlines are allowed to decide if they want to fly cats or dogs (under 20 pounds) in the cabin.  Some airlines fly pets others (wisely) do not.  Jet Blue flies pets, up to 4 on one flight, for an additional $100 fee to the pet owner.  

I appreciated that Jet Blue responded to my comments.  I was unaware that pets can be brought onto flights as I was just lucky that I didn't encounter that situation in the past.  I am a bit surprised that this is allowed and am disappointed that this is the case.
While, I know that people love their pets, I think forcing other people to deal with your pet's issues aboard an aircraft is horrendous.  I guess I should just be happy that the dog only barked on the plane.  It could have been a lot worse.

1 comment:

Laurie said...

I wonder about people with allergies. What do they do if you are on a plane with an animal that you are allergic to? (I don't support the idea of pets on planes for a number of reasons, but this is one of them).