“Betty“ is a real-life flight attendant who has had enough.
You think you’ve got it bad when your inflight entertainment conks out, the Pixie-Stix addicted kid behind you mistakes the back of your chair for a vertical trampoline, and the plane runs out of “Good Morning Sunshine” cheese boxes? That’s child’s play. Welcome to Confessions of a Fed-Up Flight Attendant, a Yahoo Travel series where “Betty” describes the harrowing, real life situations she and her comrades in the sky face every day, 35,000 feet away from a foot massage and premium whiskey.
Historically, the only “service” animals allowed on a plane were seeing eye dogs and the occasional seeing eye mini-horse. Yes … there are seeing eye mini-horses. I’ve had one sitting at the bulkhead on my flight. They are really really cute, and apparently very helpful to the blind. In the last few years, however, a whole new crop of emotional-support animals has started to get completely out of control.
It used to be that only celebrities like Miley Cyrus and What’s-Her-Name Kardashian wanted to tow their pets everywhere they went. Now, traveling with your furry friend has become a habit for every Tom, Dick, and Airplane Jane. It is apparently very easy for the traveling public to obtain the necessary paperwork to prove that they have emotional problems that only a dog can fix.
I’m sure there is a small percentage of the flying public that do indeed need emotional support from their pooch. But mainly it’s just that people want to have their pets with them or simply don’t want to pay the fee ($75 to $125) for bringing them on the plane in the appropriate container. I’ve seen the service Shih Tzu that was supposed to help a woman with her back problems. Unless the tiny, furry dog walks on her back or she uses it for a back pillow, I want that Shih-Tzu under the seat.
Meet Herman, My Emotional Support Turtle
The best yarn I’ve heard was the emotional-support turtle. The flight attendant was walking though the cabin doing her normal checks when she saw something on the airplane window. She approached the passenger and asked what she had there. The middle-aged woman responded, “This is Herman.” She pointed to a live turtle stuck with suction cups to the window. She added: “Herman likes to look out the window.”
On further inspection the flight attendant could see that the turtle had socks on all four limbs with little suction cups attached.
The passenger had obviously made the footies herself because as far I know you can’t purchase turtle suction-cup socks at a store. The flight attendant calmly told the passenger that Herman needed to be placed in his container for take-off and landing.
It’s a Mess!
Traditional support animals, such as seeing eye dogs, are highly trained, but this new crop of support animals are just run-of-the-mill pets. They are not trained to hold their bodily functions for hours at a time, so you have “accidents” on the plane carpet. I’ve seen two “emotional-support” dogs hissing at each other. As if passenger air rage isn’t enough, now there are dogs duking it out in the aisles.
It’s really just a mess.
Next thing you know, people are going to try getting away with their “service” panda or “service” crocodile!
(Cartoon by Betty)