Do airlines treat pets on planes better than human passengers?

Discussion in 'General Discussion | Travel' started by Newscience, Nov 1, 2014.  |  Print Topic

  1. Newscience

    Newscience Gold Member

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    Seated next to a dog, but you're allergic? On most flights, ruff!

    The Navigator
    Christopher Elliott
    The Washington Post
    October 9, 2014

    "Pets generate a sizeable revenue for airlines in the form of extra fees and are unlikely to be removed just because another (human) passenger complains"!

    This article thoroughly describes an aspect of flying today - travelling in that enclosed-tube-in-the-sky with pets. If you are allergic to the dogs or cats on a plane, there's not much that an airline will do, other than to attempt to reseat you, as a recent LAX-bound traveler learned while on Sun Country Airlines.

    The DOT has noted only 22 complaints about pets on aircraft in 2013, and only 18 so far for this year. The airlines can more easily make accommodations for travelers with nut allergies - simply by not serving peanuts - than they can for travelers allergic to pets.

    Read the entire article here:

    http://www.washingtonpost.com/lifes...6f3908-4b50-11e4-b72e-d60a9229cc10_story.html
     
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  2. HaveMilesWillTravel
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    HaveMilesWillTravel Gold Member

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    Nonsense. The airline could just not allow the animal onboard and the problem would be solved. Even if they don't serve peanuts, that doesn't stop individual travelers from bringing their own bag o' nuts.

    (Not arguing that airlines *should* ban animals, just that the argument made by Elliot makes no sense)
     
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  3. Newscience

    Newscience Gold Member

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    It's likely that the airlines see pet transport in the cabin as a "cash cow" and won't get rid of this anytime soon. And there is much more to this article. Elliott also states:

    "Unfortunately for allergy sufferers, it usually doesn’t matter why the animal is in the cabin. Chances are, unless it’s growling, hissing or biting other passengers, it’s staying on board. That means allergy sufferers must take sensible precautions. Calling the airline before your flight to let it know about your allergy is a good first step, although it won’t guarantee a pet-free flight. Carrying an EpiPen or allergy medication is a must, particularly when you’re in an enclosed cabin.

    A DOT insider noted that if a passenger’s allergy is severe enough to substantially limit a major life activity, that would meet the definition of a disability, and under the rules, the airline must make a “reasonable accommodation,” which could mean moving the animal. That’s an argument you should make long before your flight by calling the airline’s special services desk.

    One of the best ways to avoid an allergic reaction to a pet or service animal is to do what Morris’s daughter did on her return flight, and ask to be moved. That’s what Debi Rivkin, an accountant from Las Vegas, does when she travels by plane. “I’m allergic to most dogs,” she says. “I once was seated next to someone who had a dog with them, and I simply asked to be reseated. It was no issue.”

    If the airline won’t act, ask a passenger for help. Anne Nelson, a government researcher from Chevy Chase, Md., did that when she found herself sneezing uncontrollably on a recent flight from Atlanta to Washington. The culprit? A long-haired cat under her seat.

    “The plane was full, and there was no place to move me,” she remembers. “But a nearby passenger saw my predicament and offered to switch seats.”
    If your pet allergies are severe, you’ll want to have the proper documentation on hand. “Get a doctor’s note about the pet allergy to avoid change fees,” says Victoria Day, a spokeswoman for Airlines for America, an airline trade group.

    When it comes to the conflict between pets and allergy sufferers, pets and their owners seem to have a little edge. Day suggests complaining to the Transportation Department, which could prompt it to review its rules on pets and service animals in the future. But probably not in time for your next flight."
     
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  4. mattsteg
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    mattsteg Gold Member

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    Cash cow? Pets in cabin are pretty rare.
     
  5. Newscience

    Newscience Gold Member

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    YMMV. I see this quite a bit on my regular WN commute. I've also been surprised when I saw this on a TATL from FRA to IAD on UA earlier this year. More common in coach seating, where the hoi polloi (including moi, most of the time) sit.
     
    Last edited: Nov 1, 2014
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  6. Mapsmith
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    Mapsmith Gold Member

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    I could make a comment about any "argument made by Eliot makes no sense". But I won't.
     
  7. HaveMilesWillTravel
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    HaveMilesWillTravel Gold Member

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    I had briefly contemplated throwing an "as usual" in there... :)
     
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  8. mattsteg
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    mattsteg Gold Member

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    How regularly? Regular as in usually a few pets in the cabin, or as in "every so often I see one"? Maybe I'm just not noticing much, but I see pets occasionally in the airport, and every so often on a specific flight. I consider "pretty rare" to be more like "less than 1 pet per flight average".

    Unfortunately DOT lumps pet fees in with miscellaneous income, so we can't get a firm number on the impact...but it's in there with a lot of money generating things and the sum total isn't huge. While every bit counts in a low margin industry, it's not a big portion of revenue.

    And considering that they'll happily throw a pet in cargo where they can often die, they aren't treating pets "better than humans" on the whole.

    Pet allergies tend to be more mild than peanut etc. allergies from what I've seen also, which might play into things. For most people a bit of distance is fine - if you are a true corner case with a very serious allergy...then you are so outside of the mainstream that you are probably used to taking extreme precautions.
     
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  9. Gargoyle
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    Gargoyle Milepoint Guide

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    Ok, then I'll make that comment. :p
     

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