Posts Tagged ‘Pet facilities at Airports’

What does a flying dog do when nature calls?

Tuesday, January 22nd, 2013

Nothing could be more unnatural than air travel- for all of us.  Two hours before flight we submit to a series of harassments during which TSA  counts coup on our fatigued persons: questions, clothes removed, body scrutinized, luggage rummaged, torso wanded, patted down, patted up,  hurry up, wait, eat bad food, wait.  Then, we load thousands of pounds of heavy stuff in a winged metal rocket and depend upon the effects of thrust and lift to keep us hurtling through the skies until we land far, far away.  And while we are in the plane we sit, alternately freezing or sweltering,  cramped and phlebitic, hungry and thirsty. Our only source of exercise is an apologetic squirm to a claustrophobic, germy WC.

But that’s the humans… what about the traveling dogs!

In some sense, the dogs have it better. They get transported and, for the small in-cabin traveling dogs, their travel bags insulate them from outsiders.  (Well, for some reason, Raja always gets frisked.  He’s not a real fan of having complete strangers fumble around under his fur, but he puts up.)

In another sense, dogs who travel are not properly served.  First, they can neither eat nor drink during transport because, once they leave the car at drop off in front of the airport, they have no place to go to the potty.  Think about it.  Once they enter the airport, they are not able to relieve themselves until they arrive.  So for International transport, that’s 2 hours, plus the flight (a minimum of 5 hours) and then a minimum of 1hour post flight, considering how slow gating, deplaning, baggage and customs are.  And let’s think of how the frequent delays take a toll on pet patience.

We have two obvious solutions:

  • The first is that dogs should not fly.  But that’s preposterous.


  • Airports  should provide restroom facilities inside the terminals for traveling  pets.  It is not an unreasonable  request since airlines charge for pet transport- around $150 per flight-  which is a whole huge lot to pay and get absolutely nothing in return except the expectation that the paying client will be neither seen nor heard from.

Many airports have smoking porches or decks for the really addicted.  A segment of this area could be partitioned off for traveling pets to sprinkle a plastic hydrant.  Perhaps once a day somebody could douse it with inexpensive, non-toxic hydrogen peroxide.  (Is that so hard?)

Traveling pets are highly unlikely to relieve themselves in their transport bags.  This would be tantamount to relieving themselves in their beds. This they will not do at any cost because, in spite of what some may think, pets have strong codes about where they will and will not, uh, “go.”

Since airlines charge for pet transport, airlines should do the minimum to make transported pets as comfortable as possible.  Since most people cannot make it through an airplane trip without also visiting the WC, to expect our pets to be “better” than we are is both unfair and mean.

Raja and I call upon the great airlines of the world that allow pet transport to do the right thing for all the paying customers that keep the airlines in business.