Does Your Dog Really Want To Fly?


Two straight couples, one gay couple, two single women, six dogs and I were checking in at the airport.  That’s right- everyone in line had dogs with them except me. The gay couple had two. Only one dog was wearing a service-dog vest. Umm……..why all the dogs? And before I start, I love animals. I support animal rescues, have my own rescue pets and on one occasion even climbed a cliff in a rainstorm to rescue a Rottweiler. When did everyone decide that their pets should travel with them? It was recent, and it was sudden. I travel a lot, though the holidays only come around once a year and this was a holiday trip. So at some point between last December and this December, traveling with your dog apparently became mandatory during the holidays.

I commented to the couple behind me in line, who had the service dog. I suggested that next time I need to bring my cat. The gentleman said “Oh, man, I’m allergic to cats, so that wouldn’t be good!”.

Well lah dee dah! What if I’m allergic to DOGS? Some people are, so what about that? It’s a valid point but in the interest of holiday decorum I stopped myself from asking that aloud.

The airport was Los Angeles International, which is an older airport and as far as I can see, has no dog areas for the little ones to do their business. So where do they go? Are these dogs all trained to use the human restrooms? And what on earth do they do on the planes? Only one of the people checking in had a carrier, so I assume these dogs all just roam the aisles or tuck in under the seat in front of their owner?

I realize people need their emotional support animals, and I completely understand having an actual service dog- you know- the kind with the vest that actually has a job and is trained as such. But I’m hard pressed to find any reason the majority of people in my line had dogs with them, other than they just didn’t want to pay for a dog sitter and felt their dog REALLY wanted to go visit family in….wherever.

But what if I take this step further? None of these people had to pay extra to have their emotional support dog travel with them. So could I take a human, since we’re also animals, and claim my human was an emotional support animal? That way I could take a companion without paying extra. It might be a little tight to share a seat in coach, but I could book first class and split the cost of the seat with my companion human. I expect the airline would say no but it might be worth a try.

Back to the dogs……

Do you really think your dog wants to fly? Between the airport chaos, air pressure changes on their ears, loud noise and other delights of air travel, I think it probably doesn’t. No matter how much you think your dog wants to be with you 24/7, I would bet that most would be perfectly happy having a dog sitter come by to feed, water and walk them while they get to stay at home in a familiar place, instead of dealing with the trauma of air travel.

It’s bad enough to be a human in today’s air travel system, so subject your dog to what people suffer? Next time, give it a little thought and let the little guys chill at home. They’ll still love you when you get back!