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Several weeks ago my girlfriend was traveling to Vegas on Midwest Airlines. To her great surprise a man was boarding the plane with a dog.  

After exchanging a few words with the boarding passenger, she was appalled to find out that the furry animal weighing at least 40 pounds and carrying his own ticket would be sitting next to her.

She left the boarding line to call me to vent. After listening to her rant all I could say was, "from now on Midwest Airlines will be my first option to fly". Not finding my response funny, nor sensing any sympathy in my voice, she told me that I and the "others" have lost our minds with our love for dogs. She went on to tell me that it isn't right to make other passengers on the plane share a cabin with animals, and bla... bla... bla....

When she hung up I couldn't help but have mixed feelings. Sure I love my little Stoli, and when I want to travel I expect the airlines to accommodate me. I even expect my friends to welcome me with open arms in their homes if I chose to bring my little bundle of joy, but is that really fair?

Sure you can blame it on America's pet obsession but we are no different than other countries that embraced animals everywhere, even inside restaurants. And can you really blame the airlines for trying to capitalize on the trend?

Midwest Airlines may be much more lenient with their pet policies than other airlines, but to stay in competition with air travel even Southwest Airlines who were among the last to jump on the bandwagon of allowing dogs on the plane are now doing so with dogs under 20 lbs.

Airlines transport hundreds of thousands of pets in cargo each year, but most pet owners consider this a cruel and unusual punishment and choose either to leave their pets at home or forgo flying all together.

Federal Aviation Administration doesn't post restrictions on whether animals can be in the cabin area, however, airlines must allow service dogs for the disabled on board. The cost of flying your pet can range from $75 to nearly $300 each way. It's a hefty price to pay, but when you love your dog, you will at least consider it, and some of us will even buy the ticket and contribute to the airlines. Some airlines are even letting you rack up frequent flier miles for your pet.  

Midwest Airline offers a fourth trip free to your pet after three flights. JetBlue and Continental offers pets miles on the pet owners account.

So what about all the people who have allergies? Or who don't want to travel with pets on board? Frontier Airlines is their answer. Last year Frontier banned pets from the cabin area after officials said pet allergies are common among travelers.

So back to my mixed feelings and a question at hand, "Is it fair to other passengers?" The answer is probably no, but airlines are trying to make a buck, and animal lovers are enjoying the ride. Unless more people like my girlfriend are going to have a fit and complain, we will all need to get used to sharing a seat next to a furry animal. The good news is they will not be chewing our food- after all the cut backs airlines are no longer serving meals.

What do you think? Would you have a problem flying with a dog that isn't yours next to a seat near you?

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Member Comments

    • 0 votes vote up vote up

      Carine Nadel wrote Jul 13, 2009
    • Yana, as you know I consider my Sunshine to be one of my children-Pepper too, but he’s the cat.  I however, even wrote a blog on this subject last year some time.  

      while my furry kids mean as much to me as any 2 legged family member (okay, except the MIL), I would never dream of imposing them on anyone else.  

      I know that while I’m not quite “dressing her to the 9s” and I talk to her as if she knew what I was saying-not everyone loves her as much as I do.

      so do I think furrykids belong everywhere-no.  But I must say that if I had a choice between sitting next to a well behaved pooch on a plane and a cranky, ill-mannered human-I would definitely take the pooch any day.

      I know I’d rather take Sunshine to a restaurant than MIL.  I can count on Sunshine not to embarrass us or offend anyone in anyway.



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    • 0 votes vote up vote up

      Janet Wooley wrote Jul 13, 2009
    • You know there are people who do not like animals I don’t know why but they exist. And animals should be able to fly with their owners so something mutual might be putting animals in a special designed(pet friendyly of course) area and if mama wants to stay she can. But to just put a pet next to someone who first of all does not know might get upset.There has to be a workable solution.



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    • 0 votes vote up vote up

      Leeann wrote Jul 13, 2009
    • I love my dog , I just think it would be unfair to make someone who doesn’t like dogs sit by one.  The  question is will the dog be well behaved and will he also not be carrying fleas or body odor !!!! Many smiles.



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    • 0 votes vote up vote up

      Coachmombabe wrote Jul 13, 2009
    • I don’t think I would be bothered by a well behaved, well groomed canine in the seat next to me. But...my babies would be way too big to travel with this way (a golden retriever, and a yellow lab), and I would never do that to someone else.



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    • 0 votes vote up vote up

      Deb Darby wrote Jul 13, 2009
    • Capitalism and the free enterprise system at it’s best! I say all the best to business people who find a need and then try to meet it.



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    • 0 votes vote up vote up

      Tuliplady wrote Jul 13, 2009
    • We need First class, economy, and “the barn” sections on a plane evidently.

      I’d rather sit next to a smelly dog on a coast to coast flight, than sit next to a woman wearing perfume for 1/2 an hour.



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    • 0 votes vote up vote up

      Denise Richardson wrote Jul 13, 2009
    • I heard they were goin to start an all pet airline, but hey I personally wouldn’t want to be sitting net to a feline or any other pet on an airline going anywhere.happy



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    • 0 votes vote up vote up

      Termite wrote Jul 13, 2009
    • I would rather fly with a whole plane of dogs or cats then a plane full of people who have the attitude your friend had.  

       I would have told her if she had a dog, it would have been happy to listen and sympathize with her. Heck, it might even have given her a big smooch in agreement! LOL estatic
      Because...your dog is your best friend and they are always there for you!



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    • 0 votes vote up vote up

      UK Girl wrote Jul 13, 2009
    • I have no problems with cats or dogs .........none what's so ever and yes I used to send Alice from London to Manchester with the dog on the plane and the dogs ticket was almost as much as flying to New York from London but so be it......... but I have a huge fear and yes I'm admitting it on the net of Guinea pigs – they look like wigs on tiny paws and thier squeak makes me come out in hives – stupid really but I hate them with a passion.
      Last year I missed a flight in France to Hyeres because a woman got on with a pet guinea pig – so I had to buy a new ticket I wouldn't be pacified when they said I could sit at the front and her at the back .........nothing I just had images of it escaping and finding me at the front of the plane mid way over France. I was shaking and in tears – you can imagine the looks and the comments in French but hey that's me and guinea pigs.



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    • 0 votes vote up vote up

      Frannie1964 wrote Jul 13, 2009
    • I don’t have any problems with sitting next to a cat or dog on a plane, but I know theres some people who are actually afraid of dogs and some even cats, so that might be a problem and not fair to them. But for me, I wouldn’t mind. I have also heard somewhere that there was going to be an all pet airline. Not sure who and when.

      Maybe the planes should have a small section blocked off for the pets and If the owner wnats to sit with their pet they can go and sit with them during the flight.



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    • 0 votes vote up vote up

      Anne E wrote Jul 13, 2009
    • I would love to have a dog flying next to me.  Too bad your friend couldn’t trade seats with an animal lover like me.



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    • 0 votes vote up vote up

      Cynthia Schmidt wrote Jul 13, 2009
    • First of all, I love little Stoli and he can fly next to me anytime!

      I love animals and I would not have a problem with a pet sitting next to me on a plane. But I think if someone had horrible allergies or asthma that would be aggravated by the dander, a flight next to an animal or near an animal could be a horrible experience.

      But, I still love animals and would welcome one on a flight.



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    • +1 votes vote up vote up

      James Beverly wrote Jul 14, 2009
    • My friend Seamus can sit next to me on a plane anytime. Any well-behaved pet - or a well behaved child - is also welcome. Some of these people need to get a life as they obviously do not have many real things to be concerned about. What if I am made nauseous by the woman eating an entire bucket of fried chicken (hidden in her bag) next to me for the entire flight? Or someone wearing enough rank perfume to gag anyone within 25 feet? Or thr kid in the seat who is costantly screaming, knocking things off my tray,and running up and down the aisles? Or the guy who gets up and falls over me every 5 minutes to get yet something else out of his briefcase? Does that count?
      What if I am allergic to that perfume? Or to chicken? Or to uncontrolled children? Should I have complained?

      Actually, as I think about it, I think I would have prefered a plane full of dogs and cats with their owners on most of the flights that I have had. They probably would have been much more considerate.



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