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America has spoken: We prefer pets over babies. Puppies over toddlers. Cats over kiddos.
OK, that might not be a true statement for everyone. But according to a survey from ValuePenguin, 56 percent of Americans would rather sit next to a pet on a plane rather than endure a journey seated next to a baby. The other 44 percent sided with the tiny humans.
ValuePenguin's survey, which was completed online by 1,550 people late last month, comes as U.S. airlines begin to prohibit emotional support animals from their planes after the U.S. Department of Transportation published new rules that allow the bans.
But service dogs are still allowed to work on planes and smaller dogs can still travel in the cabin. So there may still be a time when you board a plane and have to choose: do you opt for sitting next to a docile, friendly German shepherd, or head toward the wee one who may also be friendly but will definitely refuse to sleep? Here at Daily Paws, we know what side of the aisle we'd pick.
In fact, 48 percent of the survey respondents said they feel happy when they see an animal on their flight because they love animals. (We hear you!) Another 24 percent said they were apathetic about the presence of animals while 11 percent said they would be annoyed because pets can be "disruptive." Sounds like someone could use a history lesson on the 30,000 years of shared history between humans and dogs, to be honest.
When it comes to the ban on emotional support animals (ESA), 34 percent of the respondents support it while 30 percent opposite it. Another 20 percent said they support restricting ESA but not banning them outright.
Airlines should take note: 80 percent of the survey respondents said they would pay extra if it meant their pet could fly with them in the cabin. Twenty-two percent would pay under $100 extra (OK); 24 percent would pay $100–$199 (still worth it); 15 percent would pay $200–$299 (little pricey); 9 percent would pay $300–$399 (too much); 4 percent would pay $400–$499 (must be nice!); and 7 percent would be willing to pay $500 or more (buy your own dang plane).
For reference, the average airline fare sits somewhere between $200 and $300 at many of the larger U.S. airports.
All of this is to say if airlines ever explore the almost unthinkable possibility of charging extra fees (ha), this would be a way to do it.