Funny tips for airline travel!

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Sabrina- 2000~2012

To break- injustice we- must break- silence
Barked: Sat Dec 17, '05 5:18pm PST 
I read this when preparing last time for my flight, and I came across it again in preparation for my flight next week. It made me laugh a lot both times, so I thought I might share it with you guys. I found it at service-dog.org


This is a work in progress. (c) 2001 by Grumpy Ol' Fred.

It may be forwarded and reposted, but only if this message is included. Additions, corrections and suggestions would be very welcome.
Since there has been little support for my proposal that planes be REQUIRED to have dogs on board, here is some discussion of the current state of airplane access law.

Q: Wouldn't the ADA apply?

A: The FAA (Federal Aviation Administration) rules the planes, and to some extent the airports. They have the ACAA (Air Carrier Access Act) in place of the ADA. Similar, but not an exact match.
Q: Will the airline staff know the laws?

A: Not a chance. There are a lot of laws, and little incentive to learn them.
Q: What will happen when they don't know the laws?

A: As in any other situation, they will try to make it up as they go along. On anything that they don't agree with you, they will tell you that it is "safety laws".
Q: What can you do when they don't know the laws?

A: Sometimes an escalation will help. They are required by law to have a CRO ("Complaint Resolution Officer") on duty at all times.
Q: Will there be a CRO on duty?

A: Not a chance. You are more likely to be able to find Sasquatch or DB Cooper.
Q: What can you do if there's a problem?

A: Do not yell. Do not demand. In a completely unemotional voice, using passive verbs, that will grievously offend all English teachers, simply tell them what needs to be done. They are so used to taking orders that the right tone of voice will make it possible to simply slide in the correct instructions of what they are to do. For example, practice saying, "Seat 1C will need to be reassigned to me."
Q: But how can the airline know whether the dog is a "fake"?

A: Anybody who can not tell whether or not it is really a dog is not competent to operate an airline!
Q: An airline representative said to be sure to bring my papers. What is that about?

A: Since the sole requirement of "proof" for a service dog is any sort of harness, collar, or cape markings, OR "credible verbal assurances", then he surely couldn't have been referring to any sort of "certification". What he must have meant was a suggestion to bring your newspaper. A newspaper in one of the waiting lounges can really brighten the day of a bored traveller.
Q: Are there any requirements to be dressed?

A: Airports abide by the same "indecent exposure" laws as the surrounding community.
Q: Is there a requirement for a special collar?

A: If you are a member of the clergy of certain religions.
Q: What does "credible verbal assurances" mean?

A: NEVER wink while you are telling them that your dog is a service dog!
Q: What about relief for the dog during stopovers, or immediately before or after a flight?

A: In most cases, you will have to exit the secure area, and head out to the curb. Frequently airline staff can help, and in relatively informal airports may even escort you to the tarmac. It never hurts to ask. Well, almost never. One passenger was quite surprised at the reaction when she walked up to the nearest airport cop and said, "Where can I find some grass?" Another passenger caused a bit of a disruption when the pilot, wearing sunglasses, took his guide dog out to potty for him.
Q: What about relief in flight?

A: If you can, hold it. Airplane restrooms are clean, but VERY cramped. The door fits loosely enough that a leash WILL usually fit under the bottom edge of the door, leaving your dog out in the hall staring at the door. It helps to get an attendant to hold the leash, or at least hold off the crowds who will see an opportunity to play or even try to feed peanuts to your dog.
Q: What about for the DOG?

A: The dog will have to try to hold it. If you expect to take ridiculously long flights, or cruises, or submarine trips, etc, then train the dog to eliminate onto a small piece of astro-turf, or on a disposable diaper. The staff are well versed on what to do with used/full diapers. If the dog does have an "accident", clean up as well as you can. Spreading used coffee grounds can be a good way to cover up the smell.
Q: How about food and/or water for the dog in flight?

A: Even if your dog finds airline food more appetizing than you do, it's a bad idea, since the dog won't get a relief opportunity until much later. A couple of little pieces of ice will help the dog deal with thirst, without filling the bladder.
Q: What effect will the recent tightening of security have?

A: The airport rent-a-cops who handle security may eventually be replaced by trained guvmint workers. Until then, there will be enormous variation from one place or time to another. They are scared, and are NOT trained how to deal with this, so they will make it up as they go along.
Expect major interrogations. Since the rent-a-cops have no training for this situation, do not expect them to know what the legal limits are on interrogation.

And plan to carry as little as possible.

No pinch collars or choke collars, since security is scared of metal objects.
In the paper the other day, they showed a picture of the confiscated "weapons" from airport security.
There were a lot of corkscrews -- HUH? Doesn't everyone know that airplane wine has screwcaps?
There was an aerosol can.
There was the expected pile of pocket and keychain knives.
And there was a NUMBER TWO PENCIL! (and some pens)

Ah, yes. The pen is, indeed, mightier than the sword.
So, ... find a short, stubby, plastic, "non-threatening" pen, since apparently some airport security now are worried about Bic pens being used as weapons.

When do they start taking away belts and shoelaces? (long recognized as dangerous in prisons)

Will we ultimately fly naked? Will that bring back some of the fun and excitement of flying?

Q: Is there any requirement of crating?

A: If you are a corpse, you must be in an appropriate box.
Q: What about petting by employees?

A: The FAA does not approve of staff engaging in sexual activities while airborne.
Q: What about sitting on your lap?

A: The FAA does not approve of attendants sitting on the laps of passengers nor on the pilot's lap during flight.
Q: Does the dog need to ride in cargo?

A: Only if you ride in cargo.
Q: Does the dog need to be under the seat?

A: Only if you are. If you feel the need to curl up under the seat when flying, perhaps you should reconsider your transportation options.
Q: Do you need to pay for a seat for the dog?

A: Only if the dog sits on the seat.
Q: The airline says that I have to sit in the window seat of the bulkhead row. Is that true?

A: NO. Although many PWDs prefer that seat, ACAA explicitly lets you sit anywhere that you want. If you contact the airline 24 hours in advance, you can reserve the bulkhead seat (or whatever seat you want), If somebody else has already reserved it, the airline will have to pre-empt their reservation and let you have it anyway. That will make the folks that already had it very mad. On airlines that do not reserve seats ("cattlecar seating"), by having a free-for-all in loading, they must give you a headstart. It is even possible to have them "block" the seat next to you, so that you will have more room unless the plane is completely full. However, "blocking" a seat is such an unusual procedure for some of them, that the process of "unblocking" it if needed could even delay a flight.
Q: Are there any exceptions to where I may sit?

A: Yes. If you might be an obstruction, you may not sit in an emergency exit row. You must also not block the aisle, or everybody will freak out if they are delayed for more than a fraction of a second. In addition, the toilets are not to be used during takeoff and landing, and there are a couple of seats that are reserved for the pilot and crew.
Q: Where is the best place to sit?

A: As far away from the plane as possible.
This is a work in progress.

copyright 2001 by Grumpy Ol' Fred, all rights reserved.
It may be forwarded and reposted, but only if this message is included. Additions, corrections and suggestions would be very welcome.
. . .
If you have suggestions for improvements, please send them to me at: acaafaq3@xenosoft.com
SHADOW - RIP 14 June- 2014

Barked: Sat Dec 17, '05 8:13pm PST 
I read that before I left for San Francisco and it just cracked me up.. What was even funnier was that some of those questions were actually asked.. They even requested that I remove his boots.. What a pain that was.. Then they check all his pockets on his vest and even checked under his tail... Guess people could hide things anywhere...

Just a reminder... Make sure you have a health certificate from your vet before traveling. It can't be over 10 days old. I was told this info from other service dog handlers who travel and they have to get a new one everytime they travel. After I got back one of the handlers told me that her vet only charges for the certificate & no office charge. I got charged that on top of the $15 certificate fee.. They did give me $5 off, but $45 was hard to swollow when you need all the extra funds for traveling...
Sabrina- 2000~2012

To break- injustice we- must break- silence
Barked: Sun Dec 18, '05 10:57am PST 
Remove the boots? Well, I guess if people have to remove their shoes.... still, doesn't seem to make that much sense to me! And what did they think was hiding under your tail?! You should have farted at them when they looked there! That would teach them (kidding!).

I thought SDs didn't have to have a health certificate, just proof of shots? I'll go back and re-read the ACA, but I'm almost positive it is just proof of shots. Good thing to know, though. Last time we flew we didn't have a health certificate, just proof of shots and they didn't even want to see those!

You know what's so funny about the blocking the aisles thing... When we were on AirTran last time they kept assigning me an aisle seat in bulkhead and that seat doesn't even have any seat in front of it (the aisle shifts a few feet in one direction when going from first class to coach). I was like, ummmmm, this will be an obstruction. And had to either switch seats with hubby (in the middle seat) or try to fight to get the window seat which is easiest for everyone involved. Those same flight attendants thought that a pillow on the floor in the window seat, however, constituted a blockage of the aisles! Go figure!

SHADOW - RIP 14 June- 2014

Barked: Sun Dec 18, '05 11:54am PST 
Remember each airline has their own rules about enforcing the ACA. I had to show a health certificate, shot records, current county tags (show proof of rabbies) and a letter showing that I'm disabled and need to use a Service Dog. They accepted my official letter from the Veterans Administration. The reason for the health certificate is to show that the dog is healthy to travel. I talked to 8 people who flew with their dogs on all different air carriers - United, South West, American West etc and they had to have a health certificate. Also, you have to call the airlines in advance of your departure to tell them that you have a Service Dog that will be traveling with you. When you get to the airport you have to check in at the ticket counter and they'll assign you an area on the plane for you and your Service Dog. I got this information from all different kinds of Service Dogs.. including Guide Dogs...

It's really important that you let the airlines know in advance that you're traveling with a Service Dog. They had Shadow down for both flights (I still had to check in before heading for home) and they had an area where we had to sit. Not much room at your feet, but Shadow curled up in a ball and went to sleep.

I don't want you to get too the airport and find out that you needed all this stuff before you could board. All animals... Service Dogs, Guide Dogs, little dogs in the small carriers and dogs in cargo must have a health certificate to fly. The airlines has to know that you have a healthy animal and not a sick one traveling.
Sabrina- 2000~2012

To break- injustice we- must break- silence
Barked: Sun Dec 18, '05 1:18pm PST 
That's so wierd... I've already callled about Sabrina coming (I do that usually right after buying the tickets) and they all said that the only thing I needed was a letter from a doctor and proof of rabies. But better safe than sorry I guess! I'll call my vet place and see what I can do since they're only there on Fridays and Saturdays and I'm leaving on Thursday! Luckily they have a store attached to the low cost vet that is open 7 days a week so at least I can talk to someone.

I'm flying this time on Southwest and then AirTran. Last time I flew on AirTran and Independence Air. Don't know if that makes any difference.