I saw something on the news last week that I thought was surely a publicity stunt - a "performance artist" who wanted to bring her peacock on the airplane.
Yes, you read that right - a peacock! It seems like there is a big increase in people trying to bring "comfort animals" on airplanes. The thing that is frustrating about this situation is that United Airlines told her 3 different times that she could NOT bring the peacock - but she came to the airport with it anyway.
United Airlines since changed it's policy so owners have to 'confirm that the animal can behave in public and that it's up to date on it's shots.'
Here's a quote from a CBS News story:
"United has seen a 75 percent year-over-year increase in customers bringing emotional support animals onboard and has experienced a significant increase in onboard incidents involving these animals," the airline said in a statement. "We understand that other carriers have seen similar trends. The Department of Transportation's rules regarding emotional support animals are not working as they were intended, and we need to change our approach in order to ensure a safe and pleasant travel experience for all of our customers."
Speaking of a "pleasant travel experience, " how do those of us with allergies and asthma protect ourselves on a plane? We have rights too you know!
I REALLY don't want to sit next to someone's dog, cat, etc on a long flight. Especially if they are petting their comfort animal or service animal, which will release dog and cat hair (and dander into the air.)
I would hate to be trapped next to an animal and have allergies set off an asthma attack. I have had asthma attacks before from people's dogs and cats, but could at least leave their house or yard and get away from the animal. But, being stuck on a plane next to one? Yikes!
The New York Times shares a horrible story about a family kicked off a plane because their son was allergic to dogs.
George Hobica, founder of Airfarewatchdog.com says:
“I would say almost every plane has had a dog in the last month, and they’re not deep cleaned very often. You still have dander, and if you’re highly allergic you may react to it"
From now on, I'll be taking allergy medicine BEFORE my flight - just in case. And I always have my inhaler with me on board the flight.
If I am seated next to someone with a "comfort animal" or "service animal", I will ask to be re-seated, as far as possible from the animal!
I have no problem with people that need a comfort animal or service animal, I just can't sit next to one on a flight.
I have a rights too - the right to be able to breath on a flight and not coughing so hard from an asthma attack that I throw up. That would make for a fun flight...