A New Zealand couple is demanding a refund after they spent a 13-hour flight stuck next to a slobbering, farting and whiny dog. Gill and Warren Press paid extra money for premium economy seats. The flight was full. The offending pooch at one point was under the seat of Mr. Press drooling on him. They are demanding a full refund from Singapore Air who did over travel vouchers but not at the price of the tickets.
Clearly the couple should be reimbursed for this miserable experience but I can’t say that the airline is truly to blame for their experience. Service dogs are allowed on flights. Owners do have to provide paperwork that show that the animal is a service animal. They are supposed to be specially trained but if an animal has never been on a flight before how would an owner know how the animal would react? Even if it does react badly and it is known many pet owners will not have their animal fly with the luggage as the conditions can be quite harsh and sometimes deadly.
I think the only possible answer would be each flight reserves a handful of seats for people with service animals in one section of the plane. Even if you do not have a service animal if you know you are sitting in that section of the plane you know there may be animals around you.
It is unfair to expect people who do not like animals or are allergic to animals to be expected to sit quietly by and suffer. Flying is expensive and stressful enough. I love animals but I’ll be honest, I do not want to sit next to someone else’s animal on a flight. The animal may be well behaved and amazing but an animal does not know personal space. It is bad enough too many people do not respect personal space. In this case, the animal was under Mr. Press’ seat. How is that fair to him?
I think ultimately to keep the peace Singapore Air will relent and refund the money. I think thirteen hours is a long time to be subjected to anything that you are not enjoying let alone in a cramped cabin hurdling through the air. And for the record, I would be just as upset if I was sitting next to you and you were drooling and farting. At least hopefully a human would recognize the look of death I would be giving the offender.