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|06-09-2009, 09:54 AM||#1|
YT 6000 Club Member
Join Date: Nov 2003
Location: Seattle, WA
[News] Doggone Airlines! (4 Reasons Pets Shouldn’t Fly)
At just two pounds, Natalie Maldonado’s teacup Chihuahua weighs less than her purse. But on a recent AirTran flight from Tampa to Atlanta, as she tucked the dog under her seat, a crewmember stopped Maldonado because the pet had been improperly tagged, she says.
“I was surrounded by four agents, a gate agent, the flight attendants and another crewmember,” she remembers. “They demanded that I pay a $70 pet carry-on fee.”
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That’s when her flight went to the dogs. Although she reluctantly agreed to pay the surcharge, she was walked off the flight after an attendant told her she was committing a “federal offense” by interfering with the flight schedule. She and her Chihuahua were allowed to take the next AirTran flight to Atlanta.
“The manner in which I was treated was completely unacceptable and the pet policy fee is ridiculous and excessive,” she told me.
In their struggle to turn a profit, airlines have piled on a lot of fees in the last year, from surcharges for checked luggage to extras for confirmed reservations. And just when it seemed they had found every last fee, it looks as if they’ve turned up one more: They’re looking to Fido and Fluffy for a little extra cash. Specifically, to their owners.
Maldonado’s pet problem may sound like a tempest in a teacup. But it isn’t to her. She alleges AirTran employees intimidated and humiliated her and her dog. When she tried to take names, one flight attendant told her he “wasn’t allowed to give last names.” I was sure the airline would respond to her complaint, so I suggested she send a polite letter describing the incident.
AirTran’s response? A form letter saying it regretted “to learn of your disappointment with our pet travel policy” but pointing out that pet fees are “standard” in the airline business. It promised to pass her comments about the crew’s behavior along to a supervisor.
Here’s the kicker: When it comes to pet transportation fees, AirTran is widely considered to be one of the most reasonable airlines. Its competitors, who at some point must have caught wind of the fact that close to two-thirds of Americans have traveled with their pets and exclaimed, “Ah-ha — there’s money to be made there!” routinely charge twice what this discount airline does.
Call it pet fees gone wild. To get an idea of how crazy these charges have become, consider what happened to Richard Grove, who was asked to pony up $300 to transport his 7-pound cat roundtrip on a recent Delta Air Lines flight. “That’s more than I paid for my own ticket,” he complained. Grove wrote Delta to protest the absurdity of paying more to fly his kitty than himself. The airline replied with a form letter thanking him for letting them “know how you feel.”
It would be tempting to see this as yet another airline industry money grab. But aviation analyst Michael Miller says pet transportation charges differ from other so-called “ancillary” fees charged by airlines today in a few important respects. Pets represent more of a liability than a revenue opportunity, for starters. If a dog or cat dies in the luggage hold — more on that in a minute — the company may face an expensive lawsuit. Although that’s far less likely to happen to animals in the passenger cabin, pets of any kind are essentially unwanted guests on a plane, from an airline’s perspective. Miller says airlines aren’t just “charging whatever they want” to make more money, but to discourage people from bringing animals on board.
That’s not to say there isn’t a market for airborne pets. This summer, Pet Airways, which is billed as an alternative for pets traveling in cargo holds, is scheduled to begin flying between New York, Washington, Chicago, Denver and Los Angeles.
Still, this may be one of those rare times when I agree with the airlines. If dogs and cats belonged at 36,000 feet, they would have wings. But the current system, whether it’s a moneymaker or a deterrent, is hopelessly broken. Here’s why:
Air travel can kill animals
Literally. Pets die on planes, particularly when they’re in the cargo hold. According to the Web site ThirdAmendment.com, a total of 109 animals have perished since 2005, most of them dogs. Airlines must report deaths, injuries and losses to the Transportation Department, but the numbers are thought to be artificially low, since animals that aren’t kept as pets or carried on an all-cargo or unscheduled flight aren’t counted. Continental Airlines had the most deaths (34) followed by American Airlines (21) while Delta Airlines and United Airlines tied for third, with 12 casualties. Delta lost the most pets (11) while Continental had the most injuries (14) according to the government.
The price isn’t right
Why does it cost AirTran $70 to carry a pet one way, but Delta charges $150? Does the cumulative weight of these creatures make planes consume more fuel on one airline, necessitating a higher fee? You don’t have to be an airline employee to know the answer: of course not. Then again, when have airline prices ever made sense? A seat bought two weeks before a flight costs just a few hundred bucks, but buying it the day before your trip can set you back a few thousand. Madness!
Some animals are more equal than others
Jacking up the prices for man’s best friend exposes one of the last remaining airline subsidies: lap children. On domestic flights, airlines don’t charge parents with kids under two who sit on their lap. Fido flying under the seat pays $150. Junior sitting on the lap pays nothing. Does that make any sense? No. When you account for all the extra stuff that you have to bring along, like diapers, formula, snacks and toys, lap kids account for far more weight than most pets stowed under the seats.
No self-respecting dog would subject itself to air travel, anyway
Southwest Airlines used to have the right idea. It didn’t accept live animals in the cabin or cargo compartment other than those trained to assist people with disabilities, until it reversed itself this spring, citing the soft economy.
Full disclosure, here: I am owned by two cats that I love dearly. And I interviewed Miller as he was taking his Australian Shepherd, Nikki, for a walk. So it’s safe to say neither of us have a problem with pets in general.
But flying with them is a terrible idea, at least for now. “I would never put Nikki on a plane,” Miller told me.
My cats Max and Pollux are grounded, too. At least until airlines can come up with a better and fairer way to transport their animal passengers.
Doggone airlines! 4 reasons pets shouldn?t fly - Tips- msnbc.com
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|06-09-2009, 12:07 PM||#2|
Donating Senior Yorkie Talker
Join Date: Mar 2009
Location: Oakland, CA, USA
Blog Entries: 3
Very interesting.... I wonder how much it will cost us to travel with our pets in the years to come, especially considering the fact that the economy will take a long while to recover?
I don't agree with the author though, when they say:
"Still, this may be one of those rare times when I agree with the airlines. If dogs and cats belonged at 36,000 feet, they would have wings."
If this is the case, than we — people — shouldn't use air travel either.
Mommy to Princess LuLu & Trezzi, the Little Treasure
|06-09-2009, 12:29 PM||#3|
Owned by Rory & Lane
Join Date: Sep 2008
Location: Atlanta, GA
I can understand the large risk to flying your pet as cargo, but what is the large risk to their health when they are "carry-on"? Rory has never had a problem flying with me and neither one of us has wings.
|06-10-2009, 03:33 AM||#4|
Join Date: Feb 2009
Location: somewhere,in, us
I'm going to be traveling with Amelia this summer but in the car. We'll also be driving to Fl in December but by then we'll have 2.
|06-10-2009, 04:59 AM||#5|
YT 2000 Club Member
Join Date: Aug 2008
Pasquale has been to Florida 6 times already and he's only 1 yr's old. He never makes a peep....compared to the numerous crying kids on the flight. The prices for pets to fly is insanely high........considering they sit in a spot where people put their carry-on's for FREE! BUT its still cheaper taking him with me than placing him in animal boarding at the vets for a week. The airlines are very greedy.
LD that's me and Pasquale
"If at first you don't succeed, then skydiving is definitely not for you!"
|06-10-2009, 07:30 PM||#6|
YT 500 Club Member
Join Date: May 2007
Proud Momma to Isabella: Mia Francesca Hairy Winston Prince Lorenzo Chloe Poopette Sheik Rudolfo Valentino
|06-10-2009, 08:11 PM||#7|
Donating YT 2000 Club Member
Join Date: Oct 2006
I have always wondered why we have to pay extra for them at all when they HAVE to take up no more room than a carry-on and they take the place of the carry-on you are allowed. It is like you are double penalized. First you have to pay extra for them and then you do not get the "free" carry-on either!
If they are pricing pet fees higher to discourage people from bringing them on planes, I don't understand why. I have NEVER heard a pet get unruly on a plane. Yet children almost always do along with obnoxious people who drink it up on their layover. We actually had a man come out of the restroom without his pants on a plane a few years ago! He was soused. He was also met at our destination by authorities who whisked him away. So what about having a pet under the seat really annoys the airlines? I think they have just figured a way to make more money and have seen that many pet owners will pay whatever it takes to bring them along.
FlDebra and her ABCs
Annie, Ben, Candy
Promoting Healthy Breeding to the AKC Yorkshire Terrier Standard
|06-10-2009, 08:57 PM||#8|
Donating Senior Yorkie Talker
Join Date: Feb 2009
Location: Chattanooga,TN & Tampa,FL
And, Let us Not even get started on Hotels that Won't allow small pets.... oh, heavens. drives me totally insane. we are actuall in a pet Free hotel tonight for the next 6 day because of this stupid rule... its costing a lot of money to board them, but what choice do you have None. The too have us right where they want us!!! My 2 furbutts would cause less mess than some of these wild a&& kids running around screaming in the hallway (in a pricey hotel, I might add). they are paper trained and sleep in a crate....urggggg... thanks I neede that!!!! Have a great night...
SHARON & Her PIXI
AND BROTHER SPIKE
|06-11-2009, 04:42 AM||#10|
Join Date: Feb 2009
Location: somewhere,in, us
We've actually begun to find a lot more hotels that accept small dogs. We had to go to Chicago a few weeks ago for an emergency and found out that of the 2 hotels we could have stayed at one charged an massive fee while the upscale one charged nothing for pets and had a number of them staying there. Shereton Chicago Illinois Hotels: Sheraton Chicago Hotel and Towers Reservations at sheraton.com
So far we have 3 trips booked and all are in very nice hotels and none exceed a $25 deposit for pets. And recently we were informed that our time shares have begun accepting pets so looks like that Florida trip is going to cost a lot less.....
|06-13-2009, 06:48 AM||#11|
Senior Yorkie Talker
Join Date: Sep 2007
Location: punta gorda fl
Blog Entries: 1
I will never fly airtran again.the plane did not turn on the air cond. until we were 10 min in the air..about 40 min after boarding (in fla.) we were all dying of the heat..Kati was under the sear panting terribly,the stewardess in coach would not let me unZip the carrier to just check on her..passergers around us were saying take her out its too hot in here..as soon as we were air born the first class stew. came back with a cup of water with Kati's name on it..she said sometimes people just don't know when to pick their fights..i guess if i had flown first class it would have been different..all the passangers around me were saying take her out ..we are all dying of the heat in this plane..I did call air-tran and reported the coach class stewardess and told them how rude she was to me but no response from airtran..PS i paid over 100$ to fly herUNDER THE SEAT..The Friendly Skies are NOT friendly..Thumbs down for AirTran
|06-13-2009, 01:44 PM||#12|
Donating YT 4000 Club Member
Join Date: Jan 2006
I have only been flying with pets for 2 years - before I always left them at home - but with yorkies being so small - at least mine are - the 2 together don't even weigh 8 lbs. I have watched the prices for air travel for pets go thru the roof in just 2 years!
We need legislation to change this. The gouging is incredible! Cargo is one thing, but under the seat is just ridiculous! Does anyone know the best way to start a petition or call for legislation on this matter? Because I will seriously start it!
Two years ago the airlines were charging $50-$75 now most airlines are $100-$150 and recently one airline (United or Northwest - can't remember which) is charging $175 during the holidays!! That's the price each way!!
I will be flying next mth with my 2 to VA for the YT meetup - I don't want this to be the last time. Vacationing with my 2 is so peaceful, and the expense, and worry of kenneling is very hard.
My other concern with air travel is what happens in an emergency where they make you leave all your carry on - I knew I would always refuse! They'd have to leave me on the plane too! This is the thought I kept having when the plane landed in the Hudson - were there pets on board? Then last month or so, I saw the piece about the plane load of people who had to use the emergency slides out of a plane & a gal with a yorkie refused to get off without her pet!
GOOD FOR HER!! If these airlines are going to gouge their customers they better realize pets are not luggage!
yep, just a bit passionate about this topic...
Loved by Bubba & Roxy
Holy, holy, is the Lord God Almighty, who was, and is, and is to come
Last edited by yorkiesmiles; 06-13-2009 at 01:48 PM.
|06-18-2009, 05:36 PM||#13|
Senior Yorkie Talker
Join Date: Feb 2009
|06-18-2009, 09:05 PM||#14|
Donating YT 500 Club Member
Join Date: Oct 2008
Location: Satellite Beach, FL
When we took DJ (RIP) along with us to Cinn. Ohio 7/07 for JB's 60th it was around 50-75 each way on Delta for a 5lb yorkie. Pet fees, like all the other add on fees have gotten out of hand. It's 15 for the 1st bag and 25 for the 2nd bag on Northwest Orlando to Detroit. I'm wondering what the connector's fee to Escanaba will be. Our friend/s who live there pack their luggage and mail it to our place and take a small carry on. For those looking for "pet friendly" hotels/motels petswelcome and takeyourpet are two starting sites to take a look at.
Zack, Zeke, Zoey, Zipp RIP 6/28/12
|06-18-2009, 09:41 PM||#15|
Join Date: Apr 2009
Location: new york city
bet you didnt know this
bet you didnt know that continential offers free flyer status for all pets belonging to all of there employees and their spouses meanwhile there banging out customers for 150 each way for their on board flyers and i totally feel the person with the comment about the lap kids being able to fly for free but a little fur baby under the seat sometimes pays more for her ticket than some peoplr on the plane all of thatjust makes me crazy id personally like to fly with a plane full of pups than one full of two year olds (i have one myself)..anyway just a heads up herd about this way to fly your pets for free and never be denied entrance to anywhere dogs are not allowed....register you fur baby as a service dog cost is 350 and you get all the papers look this up good way to give all the dog haters the finger