(10/15/16) This post is going to make some people mad, but I’m going to write it anyway. Last week I had to travel by plane for work. As I sat in the terminal waiting for my plane to board I heard a meow. I look over and the woman sitting next to me had a cat in a small carrier. That’s fine. I like cats and it was in a carrier. But you know what, if that cat was going to be in the seat next to me meowing for the entire flight I might not be OK with that. Or how about this scenario:
According to an article from USA Today, Dr. Romie Mushtaq, who grew up amid farms in Danville, Ill., had already seen her share of pigs before one ambled into the Delta Air Lines gate area at Boston’s Logan airport. She recorded the scene like others who enjoyed seeing the pig snuffling oats off the floor — until the flight of business travelers headed to New York began boarding.
“All of a sudden, it wasn’t entertainment anymore,” she said. “Every other passenger on the flight, you could see jaws tensing up, people straightening their backs, especially people with an empty seat, thinking, ‘Oh, my goodness, am I going to be sitting next to this pig on a leash for the entire flight?’”
Mushtaq, a doctor based in Orlando, has prescribed dogs with training to anticipate seizures for epileptic patients. But after the pig encounter, she found no justification in peer-reviewed medical publications to justify other animals for emotional support.
Here is an actual list of animals that have been allowed on planes: dogs, cats, pigs, turkey, a miniature horse, a kangaroo, a boa constrictor, turtle and monkey. A turtle? Seriously? Who derives emotional comfort from a turtle?!!? It’s basically a painted rock. Look, I’m all in support of people being comforted by their pets, but a plane isn’t fecking Noah’s Ark. When I’m on a plane, I can barely tolerate the other people who act and smell badly enough already. Now you’re telling me that I have to tolerate the sounds and smells of a barnyard? I don’t think so.
If I’m in the cabin of a plane and any kind of animal poops on the floor, I want my money back. I’m not opposed to people having trained support animals, but an enclosed aluminum tube 30,000 feet in the air isn’t the place for them. And what if a fellow flier has an allergy to certain animals or kinds of fur? Does anyone ask that?
Most of these people are anxious flyers and petting their soft cuddly animal comforts them. Aww, that’s sweet. Your anxiety is relieved. What about your freaking animal who has no idea what the hell is going on? You think they’re anxious? That’s just what we need, a monkey having it’s own anxiety attack on a plane. You know what my emotional support animal is? An Ambien and a glass of wine! Go see your doctor like a normal person and get a sleeping pill or a Valium, knock yourself out for the flight and your anxiety will go way down.
Fortunately, this week the Federal Aviation Administration met to revise rules about service animals on flights. The results aren’t in, but here’s hoping that the new rule allows only stuffed animals on flights.
Have a great Saturday, and feel free to attack me in the comments section here! ~Phil