Cat Owners Caused Some Drama on Flights This Week

Oct 25, 2018

This post contains references to products from one or more of our advertisers. We may receive compensation when you click on links to those products. Terms apply to the offers listed on this page. For an explanation of our Advertising Policy, visit this page.

The claws came out this week where felines and the commercial aviation world overlapped. Rawr.

Cats and Allergies Don’t Mix

A Delta passenger who is severely allergic to cats walked off of a flight from Atlanta (ATL) to Oklahoma City (OKC) after discovering that there were two cats on board the aircraft. “My husband will go into anaphylactic shock in the air” if he boarded the three-hour flight, Jackie Reckline said she told flight attendants. “He can’t stay on board if the cats are going to be on board.” Instead of rescheduling the traveler with the cats, Reckline said the flight attendants allowed her husband to leave instead, and they even joked about the cats during their pre-flight announcement.

Reckline’s husband was rescheduled on another flight for the next day, and was also booked in a hotel for the night at Delta’s expense. The airline additionally refunded a portion of the family’s tickets, and provided an additional monetary gesture of apology.

Delta also issued an official statement, saying, “The comfort and safety of every customer who flies Delta is our top priority and we work hard to ensure those with allergies are well taken care of. We’ve connected directly with this customer to better understand his and his family’s experience and apologize for the inconvenience this situation may have caused.” The airline also encourages any customers with allergies to notify the airline before their day of travel, in order to provide the best accommodation options as necessary. Additionally, customers traveling with required medication are strongly encouraged keep the medication with them at all times (and not in checked luggage).

However, Reckline said she had “no idea” that she could have mentioned the issue in the “special requests” section of the family’s booking. “Someone needs to let other people know this that the onus is totally on you to put it in special requests… you just don’t know what animals are going to end up on that plane with you,” she said. At the end of the day, Reckline is still “furious”, saying, “[Delta] chose cats over a human life, and that’s appalling to me.”

Cat in a Box

Meanwhile, an American woman was kicked off of a British Airways flight in Glasgow, Scotland (GLA), after smuggling a cat onboard inside of a box in her carry-on luggage. She was caught when she refused to cooperate with flight attendants who asked her to stow her carry-on bag in the overhead bin, since she was seated in an emergency exit. She insisted that she needed the cat for “emotional support.” However, British Airways does not permit cats in the passenger cabin; all animals except for certified service dogs must travel in the cargo hold. The woman was eventually asked to leave the flight, and the Daily Record said she appeared to leave the airport without having an alternate flight booked.

How did the woman get the cat through security, you ask? Security checkpoints are designed to search for dangerous objects and suspicious personnel – not to pre-screen animals according to individual airline policies. A Glasgow airport spokesperson said, “The passenger made our security staff aware she was traveling with the animal, and it was processed in accordance with our security procedures.”

“Cats cannot travel in the cabin, but recognized assistance dogs are always very welcome and travel completely free of charge alongside their owners on board. Other animals will need to travel in the hold but will be just as comfortable in a carefully controlled environment,” a spokeswoman for British Airways said. The airline defines assistance dogs by the following guidelines: “An assistance dog is one which has been specifically trained to assist a disabled person and certified by an organization that is a full member of Assistance Dogs International (ADI) or International Guide Dog Federation (IGDF), the accrediting bodies for assistance dog organizations worldwide. Emotional support dogs that are not recognized as assistance dogs by the above organizations are not allowed to travel in the cabin.”

If you plan to travel with your emotional support animal, especially internationally, check out TPG’s guide for domestic and international airlines here. And if you’re just traveling with a beloved pet, you can find comprehensive guidelines here.

This is TPG feline correspondent “Cat” Fan, signing off.

Featured photo courtesy of @subodhkolla via Twenty20.

Delta SkyMiles® Platinum American Express Card

Earn 90,000 bonus miles and 10,000 Medallion® Qualification Miles (MQMs) after you spend $3,000 in purchases on your new card in the first three months of card membership. Offer ends 11/10/2021.

With Status Boost™, earn 10,000 Medallion Qualification Miles (MQMs) after you spend $25,000 in purchases on your Card in a calendar year, up to two times per year getting you closer to Medallion Status. Earn 3X Miles on Delta purchases and purchases made directly with hotels, 2X Miles at restaurants and at U.S. supermarkets and earn 1X Mile on all other eligible purchases. Terms Apply.

Apply Now
More Things to Know
  • Limited Time Offer: Earn 90,000 Bonus Miles and 10,000 Medallion® Qualification Miles (MQMs) after you spend $3,000 in purchases on your new Card in your first 3 months. Offer expires 11/10/2021.
  • Earn up to 20,000 Medallion® Qualification Miles (MQMs) with Status Boost® per year. After you spend $25,000 in purchases on your Card in a calendar year, you can earn 10,000 MQMs two times per year, getting you closer to Medallion® Status. MQMs are used to determine Medallion® Status and are different than miles you earn toward flights.
  • Earn 3X Miles on Delta purchases and purchases made directly with hotels.
  • Earn 2X Miles at restaurants worldwide, including takeout and delivery and at U.S. supermarkets.
  • Earn 1X Miles on all other eligible purchases.
  • Receive a Domestic Main Cabin round-trip companion certificate each year upon renewal of your Card. *Payment of the government imposed taxes and fees of no more than $75 for roundtrip domestic flights (for itineraries with up to four flight segments) is required. Baggage charges and other restrictions apply. See terms and conditions for details.
  • Enjoy your first checked bag free on Delta flights.
  • Fee Credit for Global Entry or TSA Pre✓®.
  • Enjoy an exclusive rate of $39 per person per visit to enter the Delta Sky Club® for you and up to two guests when traveling on a Delta flight.
  • No Foreign Transaction Fees.
  • $250 Annual Fee.
  • Terms Apply.
  • See Rates & Fees
Regular APR
15.74%-24.74% Variable
Annual Fee
$250
Balance Transfer Fee
N/A
Recommended Credit
Excellent/Good
Terms and restrictions apply. See rates & fees.

Editorial Disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airlines or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

Disclaimer: The responses below are not provided or commissioned by the bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser’s responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.