To the military man who talks about all us "whiners:" THANKS FOR YOUR SERVICE.
But you know that ALL of the airlines hire military pilots. You should also know that SW's policy DOES NOT ALLOW BIRDS.
No one has suggested that seeing-eye dogs be disallowed.
You write: "You are the one with the allergy, not me."
Well, YOU are the one with the pet, not me. It works both ways.
To everyone bringing a pet on board: I will have allergy medicine with me, and I will take it even though it makes me drowsy and ill-feeling, IF you bathe your pet, get it a health certificate, don't feed/water it too close to departure, AND never, EVER take it out of its carrier on the plane.
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And I'm SURE SW's compassionate and COMPLIANT passengers will do everything possible to ensure that those with allergies DO NOT TAKE THEIR ANIMAL OUT OF ITS CARRIER AT ANY TIME DURING FLIGHT.
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I read one brief post asking how much of an impact "one" pet could have on allergy sufferers. But according to your own website, you will allow FIVE carriers (and your wording leaves it up to YOU to allow even more!) with TWO pets in EACH. That's TEN pets on board...
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You clearly haven't enforced the "no pets" policy well AT ALL. People were sneaking them on ALL THE TIME. So one question is, how can you expect your employees to enforce the "no pets out of the carrier" policy, if they couldn't/wouldn't enforce a "no pets" policy? The airline I work for has taken pets at least as long as I've been working there, and I'm telling you, from a flight attendant's perspective, it's IMPOSSIBLE to enforce; this is one thing it seems that people just won't obey. Even when people ACKNOWLEDGE that they KNOW they're not supposed to remove the pet, they DO. It's under a blanket, in their lap, under a coat, sitting on an empty adjacent seat, taken to the lav, etc., etc., etc. I promise you, they've been doing this on SW for YEARS. Now, when they've PAID a FEE, they will feel as if they've paid to let the pet loose, too, and paid for the privilege to not be told what to do with their pet! You've already got one employee on this site reminding folks that their pets can't "roam." "ROAM"? THEY'RE NOT EVEN SUPPOSED TO BE OUT OF THE CARRIERS, AND YOUR EMPLOYEES ARE TALKING ABOUT NOT LETTING THEM "ROAM." Methinks you have lots and LOTS of training to do.
And yes, the allergy sufferers are really and truly up a creek. Some of them have been flying SW for so long that they are unaware that other airlines have always accepted pets. So rather than chase them to your competitors, you have chased them to the ground. That is why you really don't care about them. They may not spend their flying dollars with you anymore, but they won't be spending them at your competitors either. The cat fanciers are supposed to make up that lost revenue, I GUESS.
I wish every poster on this site who has applauded your new policy will re-post and state that they understand that they cannot take their pets out of carriers at ANYTIME on a flight.
And have you noticed the give-'em-an-inch-they'll-take-a-mile stuff? People who now want to know why on earth they can't bring their rabbit, and why can't they strap their labrador into the seat next to them, if they're willing to buy them a ticket, etc.?
Good luck on this. HAH! It's really too bad that people with bona fide medical conditions can't fly commercially anymore, once your policy is enacted, being as you were the last carrier to (at least officially) forbid pets in cabin.
I'm also still VERY concerned from a safety standpoint. Passengers with pet carriers should be required to sit next to a window, so that in an emergency evacuation their efforts to save their pet will not hamper the evacuation of those sitting near them.
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Just watched the YouTube video. Do you realize that you demonstrated a passenger "correctly" storing her pet carrier in an AISLE seat?
Let me ask you....Say you are next to the window with your child in the middle seat and the pet owner, as you demonstrated, on the aisle with her precious pet in the carrier under the seat in front of her. Let's say there is an emergency, like the one you had recently in Houston. Do you really think the pet owner is going to evacuate the plane and follow directions to not take anything with her? No, she is going to take her dog. And my child and I are going to be stuck, waiting for her to grab this carrier, while the plane catches fire?
I DON'T THINK SO.
If you are going to allow pets in carriers, they'd better be in window seats. That way, when the worst happens, the pet owner is slowing down no one but themself.
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Another anonymous poster wrote this in support of PAWS:
Travelling is not for the faint of heart - or body - even if it is just an hour flight. People with these kinds of issues should definitely think about driving - renting an RV perhaps, so they can completely control their environment and "environmental illness and sensitivity".
It could just as easily be said that people with the kind of emotional dependence on their pets should definitely think about driving - renting an RV perhaps, so they can completely control their environment and have their pet with them everywhere they go.
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To "Cody in AMA"...I certainly hope you don't WORK for SW..It is pathetic that a simple typo distracted you to such an extent that you failed to address ANY issues in my post...like exit row/bulkhead/window seating, for example. I only mentioned my work as a flight attendant because I wanted readers to understand that I have seen and dealt with these issues on a daily basis. Why don't you forgive the typo, and get on with the issues? I loved suggesting SW...the ONLY no-pets airline, to friends with allergies and to those who don't live near one of my own airline's hubs. My husband's allergist suggested it to folks, too. It's really too bad that we can't recommend SW anymore, and that SW has effectively grounded more than a tiny fraction of folks who have a very real medical condition. Judge simply from the number of posts here. Figure that each one represents thousands of folks. Charge $75, or $175, per pet, and ONE medical emergency will eat ALL the revenue...in delays, landing fees, gimmees to inconvenienced passengers, settlements and suits, biohazard cleanup costs, stocking first-aid kits, etc., etc., etc,
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Service dogs are typically kept clean, clean, clean. They HAVE to be. Those with allergies have, for years, been willing to suffer, take some medicine (and it has side effects, you know) and cope with a seeing-eye dog, if not for moral reasons then for legal ones. But to expect us to do so for your little lap dog.....or for a bogus "emotional support" animal...That's different.
COMPARING YOUR WESTIE TO MY CHILD IS OFFENSIVE AND UNACCEPTABLE, and more people, especially parents, need to start saying so. You may have chosen NOT to have children (if you think your dog compares, I'm glad you don't have kids) but that does not make your pet equal to my son. You may not be a parent, but you were once a child. You were never a puppy or a kitty.
Your pet is SUPPOSED to behave better than people, including kids: IT'S A PET.
For those of you who are switching airlines: As far as I know, SW was the LAST to offer no-pets flying. THE LAST. Thus my concern. So if you are allergic, well, your business was just not as vital as the $75 to be collected for PETS, AND YOU ARE GROUNDED, MY FRIEND, FROM COMMERCIAL AVIATION.
BTW, those pet fees will be more than offset by the first disturbance caused by one. AND GIVEN MY EXPERIENCE AS A FLIGHT ATTENDANCE FOR A MAJOR LEGACY CARRIER, THAT WILL BE VERY, VERY SOON.
For the SW employee who said the pets "can't roam"......Well, we ALREADY have an example, with your comment, of how employees for ANY organization can fail to enforce rules. According to the rules on the SW website, the pets aren't supposed to even come OUT of their carriers. Now you, a rep of SW, are saying, "Well, they can't ROAM." ALREADY there is a disconnect. Feel it, Southwest? I used to recommend you as an alternative to my airline for all kinds of situations, especially with relatives and friends with allergies. Too bad. No more.
And to the poster who mocked the issue of infestation...a United flight last year had to delay, then cancel, due to fleas and ticks on board. Wonder just how they got there? Have any idea what that cost? How would YOU like to have been booked on that flight, on your way to your son's (I mean a real SON'S, not a dog's) graduation or a parent's funeral or a make-it-or-break-it business meeting?
And another poster wonders if the pets will be in a pressurized compartment...a perfect example of how difficult enforcement will be. This lady hasn't even READ or UNDERSTOOD the article AT ALL.
I will admit that I have not visited the SW website yet. Will SW prohibit pets from emergency exit rows? From bulkhead seats (where there is no place to store the carrier for takeoff and landing)? Will SW require that pet owners be seated next to windows, so that, in an evacuation, no HUMAN passenger will be slowed from exiting by the efforts of a pet owner to grab the pet carrier (despite commands to leave EVERYTHING behind)? Won't all these issues make boarding much, much slower? And this is going to attract the business traveler, HOW?
To the poster who advocated "personal responsibility" on the part of allergy sufferers -- how about some of the part of pet owners?
PEOPLE should take precedence over PETS. PROFITS should take precedence over pets, too.
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Does your website make it clear that there is a limit on the SIZE of the dog you can bring on board? Remember, you have to market to the lowest common denominator...there are probably people posting on this site you have an image of their labrador in the seat next to them with a seatbelt around him!
Also, does your website make CLEAR that there is a LIMIT to the number of pets allowed? Or is there no limit?
And yes, people with allergies have flown with seeing-eye dogs. I'd suffer -- for a seeing-eye dog. But for someone's Yorkie?
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Given how poorly you enforced the "no pets" policy (the number of people posting to various travel blogs, claiming to take pets in carriers aboard your flights, and the example of the lady in Houston who stayed behind in an evacuation to rescue her dog!) how well can we expect you to enforce the "must stay in carrier" policy?
I'm very disappointed that I won't be able to recommend you, and neither will the many allergy doctors!
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People will say, to those who are allergic, "Fly some other airline."
Problem is, SOUTHWEST WAS THAT OTHER AIRLINE.
It seems ridiculous that we really have come to a place where animals are more important than people.
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Here are just some of the reasons you have to pay a fee:
Too many people take their pet out of the carrier, despite the fact that they are told not to.
They ignore instructions to replace the pet in the carrier. They hide the pet under a tray table or blanket or coat or let it sit directly on an adjacent seat. They encourage the pet to urinate/defecate ON THE FLOOR OF THE PLANE. Or they take the pet to the lav, let it out of the carrier, and allow it to go in there, a small enclosed room, so that the next HUMAN passenger to use it gets a good dose of animal dander in their nasal passages. This includes pregnant women who shouldn't even be near cat droppings.
This means more dander in the air. More people get allergic reactions. Often these are kids whose parents had no idea their kid would react this way until they were in an enclosed metal tube at 30,000 feet with recirculated air and who-knows-how-many-pets on the plane. They're not prepared with an Epi-Pen or Benadryl. The plane has to divert. Others are inconvenienced ... those on the plane, and those waiting on the plane to take them somewhere.
Then the people who got sick sue. The people who were delayed SUE. Would YOU want to miss your HUMAN child's graduation, or your parent's funeral, because of something like THIS?
The pet is taken out and put on a lap and it BITES someone, NIPS someone...first aid has to be given, or there's a diversion. Again, people are inconvenienced. The airline has to give them meals, rooms, vouchers, whatever, to make them happy. Some of them still sue. Sometimes it just FRIGHTENS someone. Sometimes that someone is YOUR BABY. (Your HUMAN baby.) These babies are what the pet owners like to compare their animals to. They will tell your staff: "That lady over there has HER baby on HER lap, and SHE didn't have to pay a fee for HER baby. Why can't I have MY baby on MY lap? After all, I had to PAY."
(People act as if it's a surprise that pets behave better than kids. They're supposed to. They're PETS.)
The pet is taken out and it gets sick, or suffers from motion sickness (same as humans) and there's a mess in the cabin. This is a biohazard (same as humans) and it's an expensive cleanup, which also causes a delay, which means meals, rooms, vouchers. Some people sue.
The pet is taken out and leaves fleas and ticks on the plane. This can happen even if the pet ISN'T removed from the carrier. Again, an expensive cleanup, and a delay.
There's turbulence, and Fluffy, on her owner's lap, hits the ceiling. Do you know what vets charge? Then the owner sues the airline "because the crewmembers were SUPPOSED to tell me to put the pet in the carrier. They were SUPPOSED to make me do it. It's THEIR fault my puppy got hurt/killed."
One reason to charge a fee is that it gives the airline an idea of how many pets are on board. If there's no fee, there's really no way to know. I've noticed at TSA checkpoints there is often a sign saying that a passenger must show a receipt for their pet fee before screening a pet.
The pet fees don't even begin to cover this stuff. Then people say, "I paid a fee, I can take Fluffy out and put her on my lap IF I WANT TO."
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I'm sorry to see you allow pets. I have often recommended your airline to those with allergies because I knew that there wouldn't be pets aboard. As I'm sure you know, many people (including one lady involved in the evacuation recently in Houston) have been "sneaking" pets on for years and your employees have often turned a blind eye. That being the case, it is long past due for you to charge passengers a fee, I guess, although I would have preferred you had enforced your policy better -- for the safety and comfort of HUMAN passengers who suffer from allergies. You will find that those paying a fee to carry a pet on board will insist that this fee allows, or should allow, them to remove the pet from the carrier and have it sit on their lap, at their feet, in an empty adjacent seat, on a tray table, etc., making the pet dander and allergens even more difficult to control. You will also find people showing up for a flight with a snake, bird, ferret, etc., arguing that their pet should be treated no differently than a dog or cat. All of this is VERY difficult to enforce. Your own employees will prove to be very inconsistent in this regard. You will find, eventually, that pets whose owners have taken them out of carriers (because flight attendants don't notice, don't care, don't want to confront them, or don't see the animal because it is hidden under a blanket or coat) leave behind fleas and ticks on your airplane. They urinate, defecate and vomit (often from motion sickness, just like humans) on the aircraft and necessitate biohazard cleanup. It's expensive. They nip and bite other passengers, who might have -- in addition to allergies -- fears of animals, or just a distaste for them. They run out of their owners' laps and get caught under the wheels of beverage carts. They hit the ceiling during turbulence. They yelp and whine throughout the flight. My advice -- if you insist on allowing this -- is to police this very carefully. INSIST, AT LEAST, THAT THE ANIMALS REMAIN IN THEIR CARRIERS THROUGHOUT THE FLIGHT AND MAKE THIS POLICY CLEAR ON YOUR WEBSITE.
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