Ridiculous or not? Travel is going to the dogs — and it’s our fault

From the “gotcha” fees that can double the price of your trip to being roughed up by airport screeners, there’s no shortage of issues to get mad about in the travel business.

So why do we allow the little things to set us off?

Case in point: My last article on pets and travel, which set off a firestorm when it appeared here a few weeks ago. I wrote that pets were better off at home and had no business joining you on vacation.

My “in” box promptly filled up with email from angry animal companions – yes, that’s what they call themselves, because it’s apparently species-centric to say that you “own” a cat or dog – criticizing me for my insensitivity.

The article finally made its way into syndication, where it generated even more unprintable comments.

“Although I did nothing to insult you, you have just attacked me with your snarky article slamming the cruelty-free crowd,” one reader wrote. “You could have made your point without being a hurtful jerk. Badly done.”


Let me tell you what hurts about that. It’s not that we can’t have our differences (we can, and that’s what makes this feature so much fun to read). It’s that I rarely see the same passion when it comes to the cruelty done to travelers.

I’ll give you an example. People like to think of the airline industry as “deregulated” but that’s hardly true. The government has strict rules and regulations that air carriers must follow. Particularly when it comes to animals. Kennels have to be enclosed and allow room for the animal to stand, sit, breathe, and rest comfortably, for instance.

The law that protects pet passengers is called the Animal Welfare Act. But there is no comparable regulation for human air travelers. In fact, the Transportation Department doesn’t require minimum seat sizes, ventilation, minimum feeding or watering, as it does for animals that fly.

Where is the outrage?

But instead of sending me indignant emails about the inhumane conditions that passengers have to endure, readers choose to be upset by a story that suggests animals would be happier at home. They obsess over a single cat lost by American Airlines (and alas, now found). How strange!

I’m similarly mystified by the obsession over tarmac delays. In the last few years, some passengers and those purporting to advocate for them have spent much of their energy pushing for new laws that would limit the amount of time an aircraft could wait on the tarmac before taking off. Some folks even built their careers on this minor cause.

But a closer look at the tarmac delay problem reveals it’s infinitesimally small. A vast majority of flights leave the gate and take off as scheduled, with or without the new law.

How did we get distracted by tarmac delays? I think it had a lot to do with a Valentines Day ice storm in 2008, which grounded a lot of flights in the media capital of the world, New York. The incident brought an exceedingly rare problem to the attention of the Fourth Estate – and to their unquestioning audience.

Meanwhile, serious and important issues that affect travelers everywhere are all but ignored. Car rental companies that scam their customers on bogus damage claims – where’s the outrage? How about the fact that you can’t figure out the real cost of your airline ticket when you buy it – anyone upset about that? Or that hotels get to add mandatory “resort” fees that increase your room rate by up to $20 – who is with me?

No? Didn’t think so.

I’m not as angry with travelers about their lack of indignation as I am with the misguided pundits and self-styled consumer advocates who have led us to this complacency.

We look to the travel “experts” who make the rounds on the morning shows for leadership, and instead they offer up false causes that confuse us and only end up benefiting a travel industry that exploits us.

Christopher Elliott

Christopher Elliott is an author, journalist and consumer advocate. You can read more about him on his personal website or contact him at chris@elliott.org. Got a question or comment? You can post it on the new forum.

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  • Althea


    I believe that animal welfare laws predate child welfare laws here in the USA.  Perhaps your observations about animal travel regulations will inspire someone(?) to propose such regulations for us primates.  I think we all need room to ‘sit & stand’ inside our crates, um I mean cabins.

    But, I really think that most of air travel these days is just glorified bus travel, just faster & with wings attached.  Instead of muggers lurking outside the bus terminals in inner cities, we have TSA agents inside the terminals…

  • Guest

    Fourth Estate = Fifth Column

  • Raven_Altosk

    I don’t know that travelers are outraged about the “wrong” things, I think they are outraged by things that they feel ARE wrong. 

    For instance, I hate the seat sizes on airplanes but I don’t see that changing any time in the future. I hate having to be squeezed into a tiny seat next to a large woman who sits HALF in my seat. (And here comes the outrage from the “fat acceptance” crowd…)

    The Di$ney article from yesterday has my hackles up because I am still frothing about the treatment of my nephew and Di$ney’s inability to control their teen tour guests. That happened about 4 years ago and yes, I’m still hot under the collar about it. There wasn’t anything we could do. Di$ney refused to cooperate and from what I’ve seen around the web, those tour groups are still out, still badly behaved, and Di$ney is just grabbing the cash.

    Also, I am still outraged at the way the TSA treated a woman who was obviously a pre-op transsexual. I hadn’t experienced any TSA behavior personally and I was quick to dismiss the posters on here who have been rallying against the agency. That is no longer the case. I feel the TSA needs to disbanded because they are full of bad policies, but I think we need to understand there are good agents, just as there are bad agents. Thus, I can’t support the blanket statements that “all TSA workers are molesters/criminals/etc.” 

  • Mbods2002

    Chris…there are MANY of us out here that are with you.  You know me, I’m so outraged by the treatment we receive at the airport that I’ve been boycotting for many years AND writing my letters to congress people.  We just never hear this side because the media is probably instructed to divert the dumb public’s attention.  I mean look at “March on Wall Street”.  Unbelievable how long it took mainstream media to report on this.  Yay Face Book and other social media!

  • sirwired

    Chris, I thought I would point out you are hardly innocent of jumping on the tarmac delay bandwagon: (I used your search box to look for “tarmac”.)

    EDIT: SHOOT! Your comment box put them all into one massive link, and I don’t know how to fix it… I think it was eight or nine…

    http://www.elliott.org/blog/tarmac-delay-hall-of-shame-holiday-edition/http://www.elliott.org/blog/which-airline-kept-passengers-trapped-on-the-tarmac-for-nearly-six-hours/http://www.elliott.org/blog/continental-airlines-faces-27500-fine-in-tarmac-stranding-incident/http://www.elliott.org/blog/tarmac-delay-hall-of-shame-delta-american-please-take-a-bow/http://www.elliott.org/blog/tarmac-delay-hall-of-shame-us-airways-loses-in-latest-month/http://www.elliott.org/blog/can-this-trip-be-saved-stranded-12-hours-on-the-tarmac-after-earthquake/http://www.elliott.org/blog/why-was-delta-air-lines-flight-745-stuck-on-the-tarmac-392-minutes/http://www.elliott.org/blog/now-i-know-what-its-like-to-be-in-hell/http://www.elliott.org/blog/why-is-it-legal-to-keep-passengers-waiting-on-the-tarmac-more-than-five-hours/http://www.elliott.org/blog/government-fines-delta-regional-carrier-10000-for-fudging-tarmac-delay-numbers/http://www.elliott.org/blog/government-issues-precedent-setting-fines-against-two-airlines-in-rochester-incident/To be fair, you have also posted quite a few stories questioning the need for such a rule, or taking polls on the matter.

    For myself, resort fees would be #1.  There is simply zero reason they shouldn’t be included in the room rate.  But that would require effective action on a state level, where lodging rules are made.

  • http://elliott.org Christopher Elliott

    You’re right, I did. And I regret it. 

  • Jacob

    The difference is, animals can’t argue on their own behalf or ask a flight attendant for water.  Humans can protect themselves or escape a dangerous situation on their own, to some degree at least.  It’s about managing worst-case scenarios.  Not many human worst-case travel scenarios include death.

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_VKXT3UDPANBSAHPZ2QRUJFSKXQ Donal

    In fact, yes, the ASPCA were the first to sue on behalf of an abused child in the US.

  • Tom

    The TSA thing is also misdirection. It’s a few seconds to keep weapons off planes. And yet, posters reference The Founding Fathers and the Bill of Rights, radiation from the atomic bombing of Hiroshima, and being molested by sexual predators. It’s an insignificant part of the travel experience and most frequent flyers pass through security with almost unconscious indifference. But on these boards, some people seem so overwhelmed.

  • Jc Too

    I have said it before & I repeat! WE NEED TO GET ORGANIZED FIRST, maybe someone in your position. Pick out a major airline, car rental company, hotel chain & organize a boycott of just that 1 company.
    Give it a few weeks & then add another company to this boycott.
    The bottom line (net profit) is the only thing that drives these companies, eager to please their shareholders, not their customers. 

  • Michael Dervin

    There’s a contract between Humans & Dogs and Cats which is longer than Civilization. They help us out by catching mice, staying guard, giving us companionship – we make their lives much less sucky. So when we violate that contract, people lose their minds, because it’s an indictment against all humanity. 

    As for the focus on the media’s coverage of the travel industry, well, you have the exact same complaints as every other media critic. There’s a common theme with all the travel disaster stories that gain traction, nobody could say to the Victims “You should have done…” 

    If you miss your flight because of a security checkpoint, 20,000 people will shout “You should have left an hour earlier.” Having the TSA fondle your grandmother’s diaper? How in the heck do you prevent against that. 

    Or the Story about the woman who felt the house wasn’t clean enough, there were dozens of people saying she should have given the cleaning crew a chance. But for the Tarmac delays, other than gaining control over the weather or pulling out a gun and making threats – there’s nothing people can do to prevent that. 

  • http://dreamtravelblog.wordpress.com James in Phnom Penh

    I’m all for people having opinions (even strong ones!) but when their opinion includes irrationally attacking people with differing opinions, that’s another story. I love my pet lovebird (and I’m pretty sure shes happy to see me when I get back from a trip), but I’m not about to take her on my RTW trip… Nor would I spend hundreds to give her an operation if she ever needed one. Some people might and kudos to them. But as it’s your choice to take your pets with you (and treat them as people or better than people, dress them up in ridiculous, demeaning costumes, etc.), it’s also my choice not to, as long as I treat my pets humanely.

    While I can put up with small seats, the steady decrease in service, etc. my number 1 travel outrage: Idiot travelers.

    How about starting a discussion about travelers who are simply oblivious (blocking doorways while reading a map or changing camera batteries, taking 5 minutes to store or gather all their crap on airplanes while everyone else has to wait, waiting til they actually get to the x-ray machine to start unloading their laptop, taking off belt / shoes / etc., bumping everyone with their bulky carry-ons as they come down the aisle, using your seatback to propel their girth out of their seat instead of pushing off the handrest, standing right against the baggage carousel so that no one can see what’s coming (take a giant step back people and see how easy that makes it for everyone! and my list could go ON and ON…)

  • Bill

    One hundred percent agree.  This blog is one of the worst.  Chris can you post the number of passengers flying compared to the number of TSA incidents (try to discount for the one’s purposely staged in front of their own cameras) and compare that ratio to the number of tarmac delays versus flights.   Could be enlightening.

  • http://www.facebook.com/sommer.gentry Sommer Gentry

    I can understand that it’s an insignificant part of the travel experience to you, Tom.  Why can’t you acknowledge that for many people this is not at all insignificant?  I acknowledge that unwanted sexual contact somehow isn’t a big deal for you, Tom.  But it is a big, huge, horrendously life-changing deal to me and to many other people who want to travel.  It’s not at all insignificant to those of us who have missed holidays and significant events with family, spent long days in the car or train, or even changed careers, all to avoid unwanted sexual contact with strangers.  This is not about inconvenience.  Forcing unwanted sexual contact on someone is emotional, psychological, and sexual abuse, period.  It doesn’t matter if “it only takes a few minutes”.  It only takes a few minutes of sexual abuse to shatter someone’s life, and yes, the repercussions are overwhelming.  Try to show a little compassion.

  • Michelle B.

    Both the animal welfare issue and the Tarmac issue are matters of comfort. The additional issues you state are all a matter of money. So no, I dont think the priority of issues is misguided.

  • West

    Much like the banking, insurance, and pharmaceutical industries, the US airline industry has government in its back pocket by generous donations and strong lobbyist influence.  “Consumerism” is a mirage now and will be until the public outrage and outcry is so vehement that politicians must hear and act.  Don’t hold your breath!

  • Aldo

    As a foreigner that has to transit through US airports around 10 times a year, I find the TSA the biggest problem in the US travel industry. And it hasn’t gotten any better. This year, for the first time in 6 years I started to use foreign carriers and/or non-stop flights to my destination and pay more to avoid getting in contact with the rude, impolite, hostile and uneducated TSA. I wonder how many more are starting to do this, making US airlines lose revenues. If you guys don’t realize this agency is destroying your industry and your reputation as the land of the free, I feel sorry for you.

  • y_p_w

    The whole issue of tarmac delays was popularized as far back as the late 80s on the show “LA Law”.  They had one segment where one of their attorneys is stuck for hours on a plane waiting on the tarmac.  He asks to borrow a cell phone, which he uses to call his office to request a court order to have the plane sent back to the terminal.  The judge grants it and the pilot is ordered to return.  As the passengers return to the terminal, the attorney who called in the request is arrested for interfering with a flight crew.

  • http://www.facebook.com/sommer.gentry Sommer Gentry

    I disagree with your argument, Chris.  You seem to be saying that we should be more angry about minor issues that affect many people than we are about outrageous mistreatment that affects a few people.   Well, of course, it’s in the nature of things that outrageous mistreatment doesn’t happen as often as run-of-the-mill unfairness.  But I don’t agree with your logic here.  It’s truly egregious to leave people locked in a crowded plane for hours on end with no access to food, water, and toilets.  It’s inhumane, it’s kidnapping, it’s absolutely immoral to do that to a person. 

    While I agree that problems with a lack of transparency in pricing tickets affect more people, the tarmac delay nightmare was worthy of your attention and ours.  Another good example was the “hell train”, the MARC commuter rail train that was stopped for three hours in mid-summer with temperatures reaching 125 degrees inside, no water and no communication, in which passengers finally broke out through the emergency escape windows and many were taken to hospitals.  It doesn’t happen very often, but when the consequences are so severe, public reaction and mitigation should be overwhelming.

    For financial scams like car rental damage claims and bogus undisclosed resort fees, the cost is dollars.  The costs of these other misdeeds is physical and emotional distress, possibly extreme distress and injury.  Also, some financial scams lead us to think “the buyer beware”, and we can use the internet to expose these bad actors and hopefully harm their businesses to make them pay the costs of their sleazy tricks.  It’s the rare dangerous mistreatment of passengers that we can’t count on consumer education to fix, because these things are so rare and random, so we should instead expect the rule of law to punish companies who inflict suffering on human beings.

  • http://www.facebook.com/sommer.gentry Sommer Gentry

    Stick to your guns!  I’m glad that you fought for us on the tarmac delay issue.  Imprisoning travelers without basic human comforts is not okay, even if the problem only happens rarely. 

  • tomRI

    I am sorry that you feel the public does not agree with you thus I suggest the following:
    Contact PETA file an anti slavery lawsuit against the FAA for strapping us to seats that do not fit and keeping water from us.
    Contact Kodak to install cameras at every car rental facility for before and after shots. Along with a requirement that the rental company must pay a local independent company to make the repairs if they file a claim against a customer.
    Contact the AG to require each travel agent, airline etc to disclose all fees in one price and then make refunds of unused amounts to the customer.
    Contact the health dept of each City to inspect every hotel room and pool to make sure they are actually clean.

  • tomRI

    There should be different lines at the airport.

    First time flyers
    Idiot Flyers
    Lazy Flyers
    Seasoned Flyers

  • Julie Northrop2009

    I think people get so up in arms over whether or not an animal is being treated humanely rather than when it’s a person is that animals can’t speak for themselves.  They need us to advocate for them.  When an animal is sick, they can’t verbally tell us. It’s up to us as animal owners to notice if our dog/cat/rat/snake/etc.. is acting unusual and then make the appointment to see the vet.  When a person is treated inhumanely, we can say something.  The best part is, we can also DO something about it. We can tell the police/flight staff/airline/etc…about our treatment.    It’s similar to how we advocate for children.  Some are to small to have a voice (infants), and some are too young to make that decision for themselves.  However, no one has the right to be abusive to another because our views differ.

    I do realize that not everyone is a pet lover, nor does everyone like children, but until the time comes when they can advocate for themselves, people will continue to become up in arms over their mistreatment.

  • CTP

    I don’t understand why you think finding the cost of an airline ticket is so hard, even on sites other than the airlines you can see the total costs even if you choose options such as luggage, seating, boarding, etc. easily with a click of a button.

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_HMW3OTJSBDWWRKIEKEKWWM7BEA bc

    Sadly Chris, it never ceases to amaze me how much hate these “animal lovers” have for humans who don’t share their fanaticism for our furry friends. 

  • LeeAnneClark

    I don’t care what the percentage of it is – ANY incidents of TSA abuse are unacceptable. You might as well say “count of the number of college co-eds in this country, and now count up how many of them were brutally raped and beaten to a pulp on campus…” The number would be statistically small — but how would you feel if that was your daughter lying in the hospital with multiple contusions and broken bones? Would you say “oh well, so few of them…let’s not bother trying to arrest the perpetrator, who needs a law against it.”

    And we already know for a FACT that there are multiple incidents of TSA abuse, some truly horrific. Just a list of the ones that have been widely publicized through major media outlets should be enough to inspire outrage anyone with a conscience.


    When it comes to abusing, molesting and assaulting people, statistics don’t matter. It’s NOT OKAY. Grow a soul, for pete’s sake.

  • Rcil

    I don’t think travelers are annoyed by the wrong thing. I think travelers are all annoyed by the things you mention – airport screening, bogus rental car damage and hidden fees. But unless it’s in the NY Times and on NBC it’s not part of the news agenda. A better poll question might be “Does the output of the NY Times and similar media outlets accurately reflect the concerns of regular people or is it restricted to what bothers East Coast liberals”. I think the whole pet thing is a distraction. There’s no reasoning with the pet owning crowd.

  • Sasha

    I didn’t vote, but I think that a lot of the outrage comes because people have choices and animals do not.  I agree that pets should be left at home or in a kennel.  Where I live in northern california people are allowed to bring their dogs into stores if they are service animals, now there is all kinds of “service animal” attire you can buy and put on any dog you wish.   So people are bringing all sorts of dogs into stores where they have no business being.

  • http://elliott.org Christopher Elliott

    Tarmac delays were an important issue, but when they became all-important, they sucked the oxygen out of the room — and away from issues that deserved more attention. That, specifically, is my regret.

  • http://elliott.org Christopher Elliott

    I don’t want to point any fingers, but a lot of the MSM are totally clueless about travel, mostly because they don’t talk with any real travelers. It’s far easier to call the usual suspects for a clever soundbite, who more often than not, are also clueless.

  • BlondieDC

    Don’t forget that the law says we have to feed and water our passengers if a tarmac delay extends to two hours!  That crunchy piece of cardboard-I mean granola bar-that’s been on the plane for gawd-knows-how-long is gonna be mighty good with a glass of airplane water!  Who loves ya?  The airlines, of course!

  • http://twitter.com/travergence Travergence

    Better travel go to the dogs than to some less-cute animal. 

  • Tony A.

    Chris, you need to win your battles one at a time. The enemy is powerful.

  • Tony A.

    Guess who advertises in the main stream media? Airlines, OTAs, hotels, Car Rental Companies; you name it. Why bite the hand that feeds ya?

  • Rcil

    You’re right. You can gauge the clueless nature of the MSM by reading the comments people post under news stories. I’m frequently blown away by the depth of knowledge exhibited by the internet community which stands in stark contrast to that demonstrated by the journalist who wrote the piece in question.  A few months back a Chicago beach was closed, according to the City, Police and MSM, because it was “too hot”. Although that story didn’t even pass the smell test, you had to read the comments, posted by police officers and citizens, to find the truth, which was that the beach was closed due to the presence of a violent mob. So as well as highlighting the woeful ignorance of journalists, the comment feature also shows when they fail in their duty by pandering to the authorities. 

  • naoma

    Well, Chris, here is “another point of view.”  I am offended having to fly with 
    animals because I have allergies as does my husband.  I’ve seen people with seeing eye dogs (is that an old fashioned term?) but that is different.  These “companion animals” are highly over rated.  I do not like to smell dogs much less those that must “go to the bathroom.”  Was on a plane where a 
    man had 2 dogs in a cage and he sat behind me.  We had to change planes and he got a different seat.  Once on an International Flight a woman (in first class) let her dog out of its cage to “run about” the cabin.  I complained to the flight attendant re “allergies” and the animal was put back in the cage.  EVERYONE IS NOT A DOG LOVER.  (you heard it here). I see them taken into stores where clothing, carpeting, etc. is sold and they brush against these items.  Some even try to put them in shopping carts in food stores (until they are told to leave).  I work in theater as an usher and we allow “companion” small horses, dogs, cats and SNAKES.  Really!!!!

  • Geoff

    I notice that the outrage that hits your column is from the rather unknowledgable, unassuming, I can do it myself traveler. They need your as an advocate cuase they were not smart enough to figure it out themselves and are looking for an out. In most cases, a decent ASTA travel agent would have all of their problems non-existant. Al of my rental car customers take picures of the car, all of my hotel customers know whether or not there is a resort fee, and we quote air fares with all taxes. I also can book your dog. We are a 53 year old office with 4 employees and their are a lot of my kind of agencies around the US. Outrage, YES! I hate the exact same things that you do, but your consumer doesn’t understand that we exist. I have to say, the reason that I subscribe to your column is that you are in general pro-travel agent. Carry on your great work and help those that can’t fix it themselves.

  • Tammy

    You’d be just as inconvenienced by sitting next to someone with broad shoulders, or extra long legs. The fact is that there simply isn’t enough room in the seats to comfortably accommodate anyone but a relatively small man or woman. Americans, on average, are taller, broader, and, yes, often heavier than they have been in the past. And, yet, the seats are smaller, less accommodating and packed closer together. How is that the fault of the less than perfect people (i.e. fat people or whomever else you’d like to think less of)? They’re sitting there in complete discomfort as well. 

  • Julie Northrop2009

    I sympathize with you, I really do, but I have to say that even if the animal isn’t physically there, their pet dander and/or fur will be on their clothing.  Do you have the same allergic reaction if sitting next to someone with pets?  I ask this out of genuine curiosity, not to be flippant.
    I have a similar issue with many perfumes and scents.  I find that if I am sitting next to someone who is wearing a lot of cologne or perfume uncomfortable at best.  Are you someone who wears perfume or body spray?  Would you be offended if someone complained about you to a flight attendant and you were asked to move?  Luckily, I bring allergy medication with me, as well as my inhaler for just these instances.

    I can respect, due to your allergies, that you are not a dog lover.  I also don’t agree with people bringing their pets, other than service dogs, into stores or restaurants.  There are pet specific stores like PetSmart and Petco that allow all animals in their stores for people who want to bring their beloved animal with them.  Unless a person is moving out of state/country, or on an extended (4 months or longer) trip, I don’t think it’s a good idea bringing animals on a flight.  Even the most mild mannered, loving and docile pet can bite or attack another person because they are stressed.

  • naoma

    Response to Julie (hope I did this right) I avoid people with pets. Yes, I do. I never go to a home that has dogs and dogs are not allowed in my home. I am in the minority on this but I would probably be allergic if I sat next to an owner of a dog. My husband is so sensitive that we went toa store that sells carpet and apartment furnishings and there was a dog inside. I motioned that I would not come in — so they let the dog out andit licked my husband’s leg and rubbed against him (he was wearing shorts). He had to go to the car and wash his leg with a bottle of water we had there. We went into the store but only stayed about 5 minutes (we know the owner and the animal belonged to his friend who was inside).

    I rarely wear perfume and only lightly but I would not be offended if someone did not like to sit beside me when I was wearing “Chanel” (my perfume). Once at the law firm where I worked a woman said my gold charm bracelet annoyed her and I was told to remove it. I did; I am pretty “easy going.” It made jingling sounds or something. We belong to a Scrabble Club and the Club always tells the member if an animal is part of the household. Good to know. We just don’t go to that Club meeting.

    Subject: [elliott] Re: Ridiculous or not? Travel is going to the dogs — and it’s our fault

  • Julie Northrop2009

    Wow, that is bad.  I bet it is brutal for both of you if you are on a flight where you are seated next to a pet owner because they will more likely than not have pet fur on them.
    When my son was little, my parents took him on a flight with them. The neighbor had a cat, and he was playing with it.  A few hours later he was covered in welts and my mom, in a panic, told me that Brandon must be allergic to cats.  He’d never shown symptoms with my cat, but because I refused to have him endure allergy shots, I gave my cat to a friend who’s mom recently became a widow.  The cat made her grieving process better.  Much later, we found out that he was allergic to the flea medication that was on the cat, and even though I was sad to lose my cat, I would not have changed it.

    Thank you for answering my question, even if it was a little strange.

    Take care,

  • Julie Northrop2009


    That sounds a lot like my sister.  She has no problem leaving her cats at home, but she refuses to leave her dog at home if they are gone over night, unless she has a pet sitter.  She won’t stay anywhere that is not pet friendly, and gets quite irate with places that aren’t.  She has put her pets over the needs of her family.  Her dog needed surgery, and she had to dive into their food money for the month.  By the time the next pay came around, they were eating food from the local food bank.  The sad thing is, her husband has the same views she does and cannot understand why I won’t pay hundreds or thousands of dollars for surgery for my pets.  She said they are family, and that I wouldn’t do that to my son.  It’s crazy.

  • SallyLu

    I don’t think people are outraged by the wrong things.  But I do believe that when you are talking about the TSA, resort fees, etc, you are talking about the “big bad” travel industry.  When you are saying that people should leave their pets home, now you are talking about some of the readers of your column.  No one wants to hear that you don’t agree with them or think they are wrong about something, especially when is such a sensitive subject. 
    I love my dogs and worry about them when I’m away, but I am in complete agreement that pets should stay at home when you go on vacation – unless you are going to a vacation home, where the pet has freedom to roam, and not stuck in a hotel room while the “pet companions” are out sight seeing. 

  • Mimsy

    To the people who are saying that people have choices on airlines where animals do not: What choices do people have once that door is closed? You are not allowed to leave the plane.  At certain times you are not allowed to leave your seat.  Doing so, or asking to leave the plane will land you in handcuffs.

  • Robert N

    If they (anyone) wanted to, they could buy 2 seats or upgrade to first/business class. It’s just a matter if they feel that it’s worth their money or not.
    But either way, don’t infringe on other peoples’ space.

  • Robert N

    What about another line for idiots who complain and insult the TSA so they get pulled out for extra screening?

  • http://dreamtravelblog.wordpress.com James in Phnom Penh

    Yeah, but you KNOW the idiot flyers lack all sense of self-awareness that they’d line up under “Seasoned Flyers”…

  • slacktide

    Good Grief
    I love cats and dogs but do NOT take them with when traveling where others may be offended, allergic, bark, have an “accident” or worse of all attack or bite someone.  Besides how can you enjoy your time when you are constantly taking care of a pet or two. I have seen many people w animals that have caused problems for those around them. Can’t imagine them being allowed in the main cabin on an aircraft. I totally agree w Chris! Do the right thing people, leave your pets at a care center or home w family or friend. They will be happier and so will everyone around you.    

  • Brooklyn

    Never, ever, ever underestimate the stupidity of the American public.

  • Dkmcdonell

    To me the most important thing IS the long long wait on the tarmac,  it’s obvious Chris has never spent a few hours there. Next he isn’t thinking clearly about the animal laws, they can’t speak for themselves which is why some of us try and speak for them. I have a choice to go in the cattle car or stay home animals don’t.

  • http://theroadforks.com Akila

    Chris, there may perhaps be no point in responding to this since you and I clearly disagree about your previous post: http://www.theroadforks.com/offtheroad/why_traveling_with_pets_isnt_crazy

    But, here are a few things that I would like to correct you on:(1) While there are no laws on ventilation for humans, ASHRAE (the society associated with heating and air) provides standards for airline ventilation that are followed by every major airline builder (Boeing, Airbus, and Honeywell, and others).  (2) Seat size is not mandated by anyone — as far as I can tell — but I completely disagree that people aren’t outraged by the “shrinking seat.”  In the last few years, I’ve seen loads of newspaper articles as well as the establishment of sites to help customers understand which airline will fit them best (a great example being SeatGuru.com).All this being said, I travel all the time.  I am a permanent traveler, in fact, and have been on the road since September 2009.  My dogs have become permanent travelers too — and they have traveled with us across the United States, over to Europe, and across Europe since March 2010.  

    Ultimately, what I — and my fellow travel blogging colleagues — found offensive about your article was not your approach to traveling without your cats.  That’s your choice, your life, your travels.  No: what irritated me was that you said that EVERY person who travels with his/her pets is “ridiculous” . . . and you imply the same in this article, as well.Personally, I follow the old standby: if you want me to respect your wishes and your life goals, then you should respect mine.  That, I think, is why so many people were annoyed and angry by your article.

  • EdieJ

    Akila, I admire your persistence but Chris is going to continue to misrepresent and ridicule his very “nonfrothing” critics who advocate for responsible pet travel; a group of respected bloggers getting together for a critique in response to his last article had no impact. So I’m answering you here, just to show solidarity. Chris is a lost cause.

  • naoma

    I personally do not like dogs. Period. Do not want them around me or in my home or car. Heard a man on TV yesterday — he is a pit bull rescuer and finds them good family homes. Brought his dog on the plane — first class — it had its
    own seat and had “flatulence” throughout the trip. AHA. I think were I in first class with this dog I’d have chosen the back of the plane and a refund???