Have emotional support animals gone too far?

B3z9rYzIgAIxdd3In my 18 years as a flight attendant, I’ve pretty much seen it all and then some, including a monkey seated in business class.

She was on her way to the Today show, and even though all I served her on the five-hour flight was a cup of water, I’ll never forget when her fingers reached through her cage to shake my hand.

Some of my favorite passengers are animals. Did you know celebrity animals get their own seats? Not celebrity pets — no, I’m talking about animals that have made a name for themselves. Think Lassie, Benji, Grumpy Cat. Remember Spuds MacKenzie, the hard-partying bull terrier from the Bud Light beer commercials? I had five Spuds MacKenzies on a flight from New York to Los Angeles. Each dog had its own seat in business class.

Animals are quiet, they never complain about the food. They don’t pull on my dress or yell at me when we run out of space for their bag. I’ll take animals over people any day.

But there’s a limit.

A limit with storage space. A limit to how many passengers can squeeze into an airplane. (Although the airline doesn’t seem to recognize that one, does it?) And animals are beginning to make my job difficult.

A couple weeks ago, a passenger made headlines when she was kicked off a plane with her “emotional support” pig. A full-grown pig. On a plane.

Seems the pig caused a disruption, pooping right there in the aisle. The airline had allowed the passenger to board with it because it was an emotional support animal — and yes, a full-grown pig qualifies as an emotional support animal.

So does a miniature horse.

I can barely get 14 first-class coats to fit inside the closet on a Boeing 737. I have yet to run into a bulkhead row big enough to accommodate a horse.

Airlines really do try to do everything they can to accommodate service and emotional support animals. They have to: It’s the law. Not once have I seen an animal of any sort turned away.



One comment

  1. This seems to me to be more of the same … people thinking of themselves to the exclusion of others. Similar issues: use of perfume/aftershave and nail polish removers. Or visual assaults like grossly skimpy or dirty clothing. Or surly attitudes. And injecting airlines and airline personnel as enforcers seems to be ultimately doomed — passengers are taking advantage of airlines in this respect. Hats off to you guys who gracefully and constructively deal with this stuff on a daily basis — hard job, well done. Can’t we all fly like gentlemen?? http://www.artofmanliness.com/2012/11/21/how-to-fly-like-a-gentleman/

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