Pets In Airplane Cabin Must Adhere To Rules

When I visit an airport these days I’m on my best behavior. When I get on an airplane, a halo pops up over my head.

I just can’t imagine anyone misbehaving in the vicinity of TSA, FAA or any other aeronautical officials since September 11, 2001.

Yet, we see this story all over the news of a person who had been allowed the privilege of having his dog in the cabin with him, then let his dog out of its carrier!

Pet owners need to realize that we don’t have a right to have our small pets in the cabin with us. Instead, it’s a privilege allowed by the airlines under certain circumstances.

The rules are clearly spelled out and each person requesting this service must sign a form agreeing to those rules.

The two most fundamental parts of that rule set say that (1) the pet must fit under the seat in front of you, and stay there and, (2) the pet must not be let out of the carrier.

Even the most mild-mannered pet may become upset in strange circumstances and lash out in fear.

The obvious fallout from this situation:

  • a passenger and an employee were injured by the dog’s bites
  • the aircraft was diverted 
  • many people’s schedules were affected
  • a fortune in time, personnel and fuel was wasted (which the offending passenger may have to reimburse)
  •  

The less-obvious potential fallout might be the loss of this privilege on future flights. Suppose US Airways is sued by the bitten passenger, the bitten employee and/or those whose schedules were affected. They could decide to stop allowing non-service animals into the cabins of planes.

And, historically, what one airline does, the others emulate.

See you tomorrow, Dr. Randolph.

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