Music to My Nose: Pets on a Plane

images-9.jpegA few days ago, my good friend Kim at Traveling Mom informed me that a new airline has just launched where pet owners can finally take their best friends along on their vacations.
Pet Airways is catering to animal lovers who don’t want their animals to spend a long and turbulent flight in the plane’s cargo area or in a carrier next to a pretty perturbed person who is ticked off that they have to endure an entire flight next to a dog with a bowel problem.
And let me just say, a private airline for animals comes as welcomed news for me. Recently, I took a flight to Los Angeles with my mom, daughter and mother-in-law. While the airline, Virgin America was pretty amazing — cheap flight, good food, wifi, movies galore and TV options for my daughter — there was a bit of an accident in flight. No, we didn’t lose an engine, a bird didn’t hit the windshield, we didn’t lose air pressure, and a baby wasn’t crying incessantly during the flight. Instead, my fellow passengers and I were subjected to something we all will never forget. You see, a young couple decided to bring their brand new puppy on the plane with them. And while that didn’t sound so bad, when the flight attendant informed them that they had to put the dog in a carrier, they looked at her with fear in their eyes and explained that if they do, the puppy could have an accident (and no, we are not talking about #1).
Luckily, the flight attendant convinced them to put the dog away for take off and then they allowed them to hold the dog on their lap. And that’s when the turbulence hit. My heart went into my stomach and as I held my daughter’s hand, a noxious fume began wafting overhead. It appeared that during that shaky patch, the puppy freaked and exploded all over seat 20B. To make matters worse, the owner grabbed the dog and raced to the bathroom while his little deed was left on the seat. And yes, the passengers in seats 20A and 20C were completely and utterly grossed out. Since I happened to be sitting next to the dog’s other owner, my maternal instinct kicked into high gear and I instructed that she grab several paper towels from the bathroom, wet them, grab a fistful of hand sanitizer and clean up that mess stat.
Thankfully, that girl ran like the wind and wiped away the evidence as the other passengers stared at her in complete disgust. We then spent the next two hours of the flight hoping that puppy wouldn’t experience another accident and once we landed, I think the dog’s seatmates must have run at top speed off that plane.
Ironically, on the way back to New York, we boarded the plane and realized my mom had drawn the short straw. I dare you to guess her seat number. Give up? 20B.
All I can say is Pet Airways couldn’t have arrived at a better time. Because at least if there’s a doggy disaster, their seatmate can offer a paw and bark in canine solidarity, “Sorry dude, poop happens.”