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Pax Allergies To Cat On UA Flight# 484 DEN-DCA.  
User currently offlineIADLHR From Italy, joined Apr 2005, 735 posts, RR: 0
Posted (7 years 1 month 5 days 1 hour ago) and read 5165 times:

I have debated if this should be in the trip reports or here. However, in the end I thought it was best to post my experience here. On Monday Aug. 15, I was a pax on UA Flight 484 DEN-DCA. I was sitting in the third row of the Economy Plus Section . One of the very last pax to board in DEN was a man carrying a cat in a carrying case. He took his seat and put the carrying case, with cat, under his seat. However, the cat srated to meow, meow unlike anything I have ever heard. It was truly nervewhacking. At that moment the pax put the carryiing case on his lap and talked to the cat. I immediataley heard a pax tell the FA, who was all taken and enthralled with the cat, that he had a nasty, nasty allergy to cats. I heard him say that if the cat was under the seat he,(the pax) would be ok. Otherwise he would have a severe allergy attack.

The FA in a very, very, dismissive attitude, and a look on her face that could kill, said the cat would not come out of the case but the carrying case could stay on the pax lap .She also told the pax that the cat was in distress. The pax again told the FA about his allergy. She offered to move him one row back. I can tell you , my wife and daughter have a terrible allergy to cats and one row back would never, ever solve the problem for them. It would have to be several rows back that would solve that problem.

Anyway the carrying case was put under the seat for take off and it remained there until about 45 min outr from DCA. At that time the pax picked up the carrying case and took it into the lavatory . As soon as the pax was walking to the restroom. a few pax started to sneeze etc. etc. etc. All the time the cat was meowing, meowing as loud as it could. Anyway the pax finally retunred to his seat and the pax who told the FA about his allergy was starting to really sneeze etc. etc. etc. We landed at DCA without things getting worse and the cat in the carrying case under the pax seart.

Now, as I said, my wife and daughter have an horrific allergy to cats. Often times we travel together. if they would have been with me, they could have had a problem along with the pax who told the FA about his severe allergy. The FA was so, so dismissive and lacking in understanding about the pax allergy. I did hear her say that she was a cat lover herself. . It was obvious that she had more concern for the cat than perhaps the pax. After all if there was need for an emergency evacuatrion, wouldnt the cat have to be left onboard? Would the FA have givcen preference for the cat over a pax who was having a severe allergy to cats?

So the question is, under the circumstances and with no tolerance. these days. for pax who assert themselves to a crew member, how far can a pax assert themselves and demand that they be moved several rows away from a pax who is carrying a cat? iIf not an inflight medical emergency is not out of the question as some people, my wife and daughter included, have an very, very, very bad allergy to cats.

I am a 1K flyer with UA. If I was not a seasoned flyer with UA, I would have really, really have second thoughts about flying with UA again as the FA was just so dismissive. However, it is my experience that she was indeed the rarity of UAs FAs and employees. Still though the question remains, how far can one pax assert himself when it was obvious the FA was 100% unconcerned and dismissive to the possible medical issue of the pax.

32 replies: All unread, showing first 25:
 
User currently offlineAirTranTUS From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 1, posted (7 years 1 month 4 days 23 hours ago) and read 5089 times:

Where was this passenger sitting in relation to the cat originally?

User currently offlineIADLHR From Italy, joined Apr 2005, 735 posts, RR: 0
Reply 2, posted (7 years 1 month 4 days 23 hours ago) and read 5067 times:

Quoting AirTranTUS (Reply 1):
Where was this passenger sitting in relation to the cat originally?

Pax with allergy was sitting in first row, an emergency row, of Economy Plus on the aisle. Pax with cat was sitting in same row, acorss the aisle in middle seat. Based on my wife and daughters allergy, much too close for comofrt.


User currently offlineDrewwright From United States of America, joined May 2001, 621 posts, RR: 1
Reply 3, posted (7 years 1 month 4 days 21 hours ago) and read 4971 times:

Ever notice how when someone farts, you can't smell it forward of their row (unless it is a really toxic one)? On most pressurized aircraft, air flows from front to rear, so you would be better off sitting well forward of someone with a cat. I believe most flight attendants would be accommodating of someone with cat allergies, at least as accomodating as they are with the peanut allergies. Although to some, saying you are allergic to cats is like saying you're allergic to babies.  Yeah sure

User currently offlineRikkus67 From Canada, joined Jun 2000, 1646 posts, RR: 1
Reply 4, posted (7 years 1 month 4 days 15 hours ago) and read 4803 times:

As a pet owner of 2 dogs and (previously @ the same time, 2 cats), I would never subject my pet to a pressurized confined space. Animal ears in general are much more sensitive than ours. This was probably the reason for the cat wailing, on top of probably being scared....

With allergies becoming more common, there should be some better common sense when dealing with pet transport. I have a close friend with severe cat dander allergies. When he and his family have visited, I would have to cage the cats and put them in another room. A thorough vacuuming would then follow, and the friend had to have allergy meds readily available.
In a confined space with limited airflow, it is imparative that both passengers and the occasional pet are properly looked after. As much as I love my animals, a human life is a bit more important.

Pet transport by the airlines is a PRIVILEDGE, not a RIGHT.

[Edited 2007-08-16 01:01:13]


AC.WA.CP.DL.RW.CO.WG.WJ.WN.KI.FL.SK.ACL.UA.US.F9
User currently offline2175301 From United States of America, joined May 2007, 1069 posts, RR: 0
Reply 5, posted (7 years 1 month 4 days 14 hours ago) and read 4773 times:

A cat in the passenger cabin...

If it was near me and they did not immediately seat me as far away of the cat as possible and forward.... (and hope that works) It would be likely that they would have a medical divert on their hands.

What is the airline even thinking about with allowing cats in the cabin?

I expect cat free flights.

There are more people severely allergic to cats than their are to peanuts.


User currently offlineAirTranTUS From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 6, posted (7 years 1 month 4 days 14 hours ago) and read 4742 times:

Quoting 2175301 (Reply 5):
What is the airline even thinking about with allowing cats in the cabin?

I expect cat free flights.

Animals that are emotional companions are allowed in the cabin. Within certain size constraints of course, can't bring your goat with you.


User currently offlineMattnrsa From United States of America, joined Dec 2002, 393 posts, RR: 1
Reply 7, posted (7 years 1 month 4 days 14 hours ago) and read 4713 times:

Quoting AirTranTUS (Reply 6):
Animals that are emotional companions are allowed in the cabin

Small dogs, cats, and household birds are allowed in the cabin as long as their carrier can fit under the seat. Customers will be moved around the cabin if there are allergy issues.


User currently offlineSpeedbirdie From United Kingdom, joined May 2006, 917 posts, RR: 52
Reply 8, posted (7 years 1 month 4 days 14 hours ago) and read 4671 times:

Quoting Mattnrsa (Reply 7):
Small dogs, cats, and household birds are allowed in the cabin as long as their carrier can fit under the seat. Customers will be moved around the cabin if there are allergy issues.

They are? What about Quarantine rules?
I dont think any animal is allowed on aircraft over in the UK (cabin that is).



Never give up..
User currently onlineLAXdude1023 From India, joined Sep 2006, 7603 posts, RR: 24
Reply 9, posted (7 years 1 month 4 days 14 hours ago) and read 4670 times:

I always thought the policy was that Cats can fly in cabin, but that they had to remain in their container.

Quoting 2175301 (Reply 5):
I expect cat free flights.

Dont think there is an airline that wont allow cats period in the US. I think they all allow cats, dogs, and other tiny animals that fit into containers.

I have a cat. And I wouldnt subject him to flying unless I absolutely had to.

[Edited 2007-08-16 01:45:21]


Stewed...Lewd...Crude...Irreverent...Belligerent
User currently offlineMattnrsa From United States of America, joined Dec 2002, 393 posts, RR: 1
Reply 10, posted (7 years 1 month 4 days 13 hours ago) and read 4638 times:

Quoting Speedbirdie (Reply 8):
What about Quarantine rules

I was referring to US domestic flights. International quarantine rules would apply.


User currently offlineRDUDDJI From Lesotho, joined Jun 2004, 1483 posts, RR: 3
Reply 11, posted (7 years 1 month 4 days 12 hours ago) and read 4565 times:

Now I see the cat meowing and the person being allergic as two mutually exclusive events...

Four things

A) I don't think people who care about their animals should take them on a flight (checked or not).

B) If someone is that allergic to cats (or dogs), they should avoid public spaces where the same air is shared.

C) I hate cats.

D) As I unfortunately learned a few months ago, I have developed a severe allergy to fire/red ants (see anaphylactic shock). Therefore, I do all possible to avoid being bitten by them (i.e. I no longer wear open toed shoes when walking outside in S.E. NC). I am also equipped with an epi-pen just in case. My ppint being: If you are aware of a certain allergy, take all precautions.

On the other subject: A meowing or aggressive cat should not be allowed on the flight whether it's checked or in the cabin.

Quoting Mattnrsa (Reply 10):
I was referring to US domestic flights.

Minus Hawaii.



Sometimes we don't realize the good times when we're in them
User currently offlineJimbobjoe From United States of America, joined Oct 2001, 653 posts, RR: 0
Reply 12, posted (7 years 1 month 4 days 12 hours ago) and read 4526 times:

Quoting Rikkus67 (Reply 4):
Pet transport by the airlines is a PRIVILEDGE, not a RIGHT.

Technically it's neither. It's a circumstantially permissible condition of contract. Right or privilege really doesn't enter in here (and besides, my legal dictionary considers the two words to be synonymous. They are used colloquially to refer to a concept that really doesn't exist, at least, not the way people think it does.)

Quoting Speedbirdie (Reply 8):
I dont think any animal is allowed on aircraft over in the UK (cabin that is).

UK carriers seem to not like animals in the cabin. British Airways, Ryanair and Easyjet don't allow it, and Virgin Atlantic does, but only on certain international routes. But Iberia, Alitalia, Lufthansa and Air France allow animals in pretty much the same way the US carriers do.

Guide dogs are allowed by all carriers however.


User currently offlineWorkFlyer From New Zealand, joined Dec 2006, 203 posts, RR: 0
Reply 13, posted (7 years 1 month 4 days 9 hours ago) and read 4447 times:

Quoting RDUDDJI (Reply 11):
B) If someone is that allergic to cats (or dogs), they should avoid public spaces where the same air is shared

My brother is allergic to Cats. He suffers whenever he comes to our house as we have one. However he knows there is a cat in our house and takes care to avoid it when he comes over (he still puffs up and wheezes a bit though). In the case of the pax above, he had no choice as he was seated across the aisle from the cat. You can only mitigate your exposure to allergens you cannot eliminate them. However in this instance the pax was not really given the option to mitigate his exposure. A one row move would not have helped at all.

The cat should have been below with the bags.

Only Guide dogs and assistance animals should be in the cabin. A cat is NOT and assistance animal.


User currently offlineNorthstarBoy From United States of America, joined Jun 2005, 1832 posts, RR: 0
Reply 14, posted (7 years 1 month 4 days 7 hours ago) and read 4405 times:
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cats and travel don't mix, period. my cats don't even like riding in the car. Trying to take them on an airplane would be like dante's ninth hell for me, the cats, and my fellow passengers.

as for the guy with the cat, unless he was relocating, he should have left the cat at home with an ample supply of food and water, or given a neighbor kid a key and 20 bucks to check in on it every couple of days. I guess i just don't get some people's obsession with taking their pets on trips with them. Cats take care of themselves very well, and for dogs there are lots of kennels/doggie camps/doggie daycares that do a marvelous job. there's no need to bring the family pet on the trip with you.

as for the situation mentioned above, someone is going to be unhappy no matter what the F/A does, if she offloads the cat, the cat's owner is not going to be happy, but, by allowing the cat to stay, she possibly jeopardized the health of the guy allergic to it, so she should have politely, sympathetically off loaded the cat and handed it over to a gate agent for placement in the pressurized area of baggage for the sake of the other man's health. She may have to put up with four hours of dirty looks from the cat owner, but if the guy who was allergic had some kind of serious reaction and died, god forbid, she'd have to live with that for the rest of her life.



Why are people so against low yields?! If lower yields means more people can travel abroad, i'm all for it
User currently offline57AZ From United States of America, joined Nov 2004, 2550 posts, RR: 2
Reply 15, posted (7 years 1 month 4 days 7 hours ago) and read 4386 times:

Quoting Jimbobjoe (Reply 12):
Technically it's neither. It's a circumstantially permissible condition of contract.



Quoting Jimbobjoe (Reply 12):
Guide dogs are allowed by all carriers however.

Not entirely. Animals that are certified either as service animals or companion animals must be accommodated by common carriers as a matter of United States Code (Americans with Disabilities Act). This can include a wider list of animal types than dogs, though they are probably the most common. If an airline were to refuse to carry the animal, they would be bound by the contract of carriage to either transport the passenger and animal on a later flight or compensate the passenger accordingly. Refusing the passenger transportation because of the animal or refusing to accommodate the animal would be grounds for a civil suit in federal court. If the animal is a certified companion animal or service animal, removing the animal from the passenger cabin would possibly result in a lawsuit as well, so as far as the carrier is concerned it's basically a no win situation.

As for animals and travel, whether or not to take them along depends on the particular animal. I have had cats for years and presently have two. Dale is somewhat odd in that he doesn't mind riding in the car or getting in the carrier. I can set it right down and he'll go right in on his own. Kyerlie hates the carrier and with her, getting her in it is a fight. Traveling by car is one thing, but the high frequency noise produced by aircraft is something that I would not subject my animals to unless relocating a long distance.

[Edited 2007-08-16 08:21:02]


"When a man runs on railroads over half of his lifetime he is fit for nothing else-and at times he don't know that."
User currently onlineLAXdude1023 From India, joined Sep 2006, 7603 posts, RR: 24
Reply 16, posted (7 years 1 month 4 days 7 hours ago) and read 4368 times:

Quoting 57AZ (Reply 15):
As for animals and travel, whether or not to take them along depends on the particular animal. I have had cats for years and presently have two. Dale is somewhat odd in that he doesn't mind riding in the car or getting in the carrier. I can set it right down and he'll go right in on his own. Kyerlie hates the carrier and with her, getting her in it is a fight. Traveling by car is one thing, but the high frequency noise produced by aircraft is something that I would not subject my animals to unless relocating a long distance.

My cat Toby, actually travels very well. He is the most chill animal ive ever encountered (but hey were from California, so what do you expect?  Wink ). Hes fine in the carrier, he would be fine in an airplane. But the only possible scenario I can think of to take him on one would be overseas relocation. Im moving from Los Angeles to Chicago in 2 weeks and im still driving with him as opposed to flying with him. He would be a nightmare for to fly with for people with allergies. He sheds like crazy. And he likes to talk so it might be annoying much to the extent a crying baby is.

As for this particular scenario, I think the middle ground is correct. For those who say that certain small pets shouldnt be allowed on board, I disagree. Cats, dogs, and other animals that can fit in a carrier under the wieght restrictions should be allowed. But I dont think under any circumstances (unless its life threatening to them) that they should be let out of their carrier. And if a traveler has allergies to the animal, the FA should do what ever possible to set them as far from the animal as possible (perhaps asking someone who doesnt mind to change seats with them). Yesterday I flew DFW-LAX on UA and I swear there were 6 or 7 babies on the flight that screamed like crazy. I for one would rather sit next to a cat that is meowing than a screaming baby. But I also love cats and dont care much for kids, whereas most people are the other way around.  Wink



Stewed...Lewd...Crude...Irreverent...Belligerent
User currently offlineTdscanuck From Canada, joined Jan 2006, 12709 posts, RR: 79
Reply 17, posted (7 years 1 month 4 days 5 hours ago) and read 4336 times:

Quoting Drewwright (Reply 3):
On most pressurized aircraft, air flows from front to rear, so you would be better off sitting well forward of someone with a cat.

Although there is some front-to-rear flow, the major flow is from center to outside. If you're stuck in the same row, sit inboard of the offending critter if you can.

Quoting Rikkus67 (Reply 4):
In a confined space with limited airflow, it is imparative that both passengers and the occasional pet are properly looked after.

Slight diversion of topic, but why do you consider it limited airflow? The airflow in an airliner is way higher than any residence or commercial building.

Tom.


User currently offlineLH459 From United States of America, joined Aug 2005, 886 posts, RR: 1
Reply 18, posted (7 years 1 month 3 days 13 hours ago) and read 4159 times:

On those rare occasions I've found it necessary to fly with a cat, I have ALWAYS sedated the cat before getting on the plane. That way, the cat wasn't meowing and shedding, and the people sitting next to me hardly knew she was there. I thought that was common practice recommended by veterinarians, and it certainly would've made for a more pleasant situation on the OP's flight (allergies notwithstanding).


"I object to violence because when it appears to do good, the good is temporary; the evil it does is permanent" - Ghandi
User currently offlineIAirAllie From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 19, posted (7 years 1 month 3 days 8 hours ago) and read 4087 times:

Quoting 2175301 (Reply 5):
There are more people severely allergic to cats than their are to peanuts.

Not saying it doesn't happen but I've never heard of someone going into anaphalxis due to a cat allergy. Peanut allergies are often severe enough that even slight exposure can cause an anaphalatic reaction. Which untreated can lead to death.

Quoting NorthstarBoy (Reply 14):
I guess i just don't get some people's obsession with taking their pets on trips with them.

Most people don't arbitrarily bring pets with them. Except for the accessory dog crowd. This just my observation from conversations with pax carrying pets over the last 6 years as an FA.


User currently offlineType-Rated From United States of America, joined Sep 1999, 5033 posts, RR: 19
Reply 20, posted (7 years 1 month 3 days 8 hours ago) and read 4082 times:

Well, did your family get off the plane at DCA wheezin and a sneezin'?

Now that you have learned that there may be cats and "cat people" on board any aircraft at any given time, you may want to consider bringing some Benedryl with you on your next flight, just in case.



Fly North Central Airlines..The route of the Northliners!
User currently offlineD328 From United States of America, joined Jul 2007, 307 posts, RR: 0
Reply 21, posted (7 years 1 month 3 days 7 hours ago) and read 4057 times:

Some people as in F/A's Just dont give a crap anymore, sad but customer service in the US is going down the drains....

User currently offline57AZ From United States of America, joined Nov 2004, 2550 posts, RR: 2
Reply 22, posted (7 years 1 month 3 days 6 hours ago) and read 4045 times:

Quoting LAXdude1023 (Reply 16):
And he likes to talk so it might be annoying much to the extent a crying

Dale likes to talk a fair amount as well. As for sedating, I would avoid that-in fact, I believe that it is NOT a recommended practice as cats, due to their small body size and weight can very easily develop sudden respiratory problems and die if the amount of sedative administered is too great. As for personal experience, I've only carried a cat twice on board our own airplane-he did NOT like the high pitched noise.

Quoting LAXdude1023 (Reply 16):
But I also love cats and dont care much for kids, whereas most people are the other way around. Wink

Same here. I like my cats more than I like most people. One of my co-workers used to work for the county in Animal Control and if you ask her what the worst animals alive are, there's a 2/3 chance that she'll say humans. For the record, she has cats and has stated on numerous occasions that she likes her pets more than most people.



"When a man runs on railroads over half of his lifetime he is fit for nothing else-and at times he don't know that."
User currently offlineADXMatt From United States of America, joined Jul 2006, 951 posts, RR: 2
Reply 23, posted (7 years 1 month 3 days 6 hours ago) and read 4006 times:

Unless they recently changed their policy, Southwest is a cat free airline. In fact they don't allow any animals onboard.

If I had a sever allergy I would make sure before boarding that there were no cats, dogs, birds, peanut, etc before boarding and to bring medicine with me just in case.

Why should the cat owner who has done nothing wrong be inconvenienced?

Now on another note, since both were present the F/A could have made a better effert in reseating the allergic pax in the back of the plane furthest from the offending animal. I'm sure a cramped economy passenger wouldn't mind moving up to an aisle seat in economy plus.

Now the cat making alot of noise is similar to a screaming kid. Would you drug the kid?

I would like to see a no kid section of the plane.


User currently offlineRussianJet From Belgium, joined Jul 2007, 7703 posts, RR: 21
Reply 24, posted (7 years 1 month 3 days 4 hours ago) and read 3983 times:
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Quoting Jimbobjoe (Reply 12):
UK carriers seem to not like animals in the cabin. British Airways, Ryanair and Easyjet don't allow it

Ryanair is NOT a British carrier.

I love cats, but having them in the cabin just seems like a silly idea. People have allergies, the cat might wail all the time (as in this case), the cat may well crap during flight (great for the poor sod next to it) and it's also just horrible for the cat generally. .



✈ Every strike of the hammer is a blow against the enemy. ✈
25 IADLHR : Exactly. The affected pax was in the first row, which was also an emergency row exit. So there was plenty of leg room. I heard the affected pax say t
26 Aamr : A pet in an emergency exit row? The issue doesn't come up often but at my position, I would need to reseat that passenger with the pet before boardin
27 FLYGUY767 : The situation should have been more properly handled. An announcement should have been made at the gate asking if anyone had allergies to cats, as th
28 Post contains links Aamr : http://www.aa.com/content/agency/Boo.../Booking/exit_row_procedures.jhtml In writing from AA's own documentation.... "Passengers traveling with pet in
29 FLYGUY767 : Not to be rude, and not to start anything. I have come to expect these kind of lack of concern attitudes from United Airlines in the past few years.
30 RussianJet : I had noticed - I see them every single day I go to work. But, I also see the Irish flags and reg. Anyway.....in conclusion, cats are better than dog
31 EWRCabincrew : Cats (along with many other animals) can be considered emotional need animals (as well as companion animals) and are, therefore, allowed onboard. Fede
32 Aviationwiz : Reminds me of an issue I had on an NW flight from IAD-MSP about a year and a half ago. I wasn't feeling too well, had a bit of a headache and a runny
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