Scuttlebiz: Flying The ‘Furry Skies’ Is Too Common

OPINION
By Damon Cline
The Augusta Chronicle, Ga.

WWR Article Summary (tl;dr) Columnist Damon Cline applauds or rather, encourages a crackdown on pets flying the friendly skies.

The Augusta Chronicle, Ga.

As I write this, I am less than 36 hours from boarding a plane for a cross-country trip.

Ordinarily, my biggest concern is being seated next to a shrieking infant, an intoxicated blowhard or a stout individual who occupies every cubic inch of their seat space and part of mine.

But these days I worry more about sharing cramped quarters at 30,000 feet with someone’s Chihuahua. Or pig. Or peacock.

It’s no secret more travelers are bringing animals into the cabin. Everyone’s pet, it seems, has become an “emotional support animal” ever since the flying public realized they can elude anywhere from $75 to $200 in airline fees by claiming their pet is vital to their mental health.

Dogs, cats, monkeys, turkeys, rodents, spiders, snakes — all have been brought on board by passengers in recent years who said the animal’s presence was medically necessary.

While many animals are a legitimate part of their owner’s therapy, I believe the bulk of these creatures belong to people who are simply cheap and inconsiderate.

Airlines apparently think so, too, which is why some have pushed back against fliers who are clearly abusing the system.

On March 1, Delta Air Lines instituted a new policy that requires people traveling with an on-board pet to have a letter drafted and signed by a doctor or licensed mental health professional. Travelers also need to provide proof of vaccinations 48 hours in advance and sign a document confirming their animal can behave without a kennel in the cabin. Other airlines, including United and American Airlines, have instituted similar measures.

I, for one, applaud the crackdown. If we don’t tolerate people acting like animals on airplanes, why must we tolerate actual animals that don’t legitimately need to be in the cabin?

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