When I see a dog at my gate, I instinctively want to go buy a bag of peanuts. You’re wondering what these two things have in common? Allergies! Several — don’t know, 20 — years ago peanuts were unceremoniously removed from the snacks we would get with our free soda on a plane. Apparently, too many people are allergic to peanuts to risk handing them out. But dogs, no problem! It’s not like anyone is allergic to dogs! Or that they are afraid of dogs!
Apparently .6 percent of the population is allergic to peanuts, while 30% of people with allergies are allergic to dog dander. Plus, there is a whole world of people who are instinctively afraid of dogs. It’s called cynophobia. My grandmother had it. When my daughter was 3 months old I took her to a ladies’ lunch and some big white dog (“snowy”) came over and licked her. She SCREAMED! To this day, I have never seen her touch a dog!
Still, peanuts are banned and dogs are increasingly commonplace. And, lest I be accused of anti-canine sentiments, cats are also a source of huge allergic reactions and yet they are increasingly common in flight.
I’m not a dog person. I don’t dislike them, but I don’t like them per se and I don’t like when they lick me or sniff me or otherwise make huge presumptions about our relationship. There’s one dog I like, but he is really a fox that happens to live inside.
Dogs will typically make their appearance on flights to: West Palm Beach, Ft. Meyers, and Tampa. I’ve seen dogs go to Phoenix and I’ve seen them to go LA. But mostly it’s that “snow bird” thing.
So, I thought I knew the answer to what to do when you’re a female corporate traveler and you find yourself next to a dog? Oh, and you’re not just next to a dog of course, because owner doesn’t buy a seat for the dog. You’re next to owner, backpack, dog carrier, and smelly dog biscuits. I’ve seen a man simply say, “No, I do not want to sit next to this dog.” But, for me, I’m going with more of a sure thing: “I’m allergic to dogs.”
Turns out being allergic isn’t a sure thing at all. I dined with someone quite allergic to cats tonight and she told me that when she was seated next to Friskie and complained, she was the one moved. She went from exit row aisle to middle row back of plane. Attendants basically said, “Well, that cat has a right to its seat.” So, apparently, cat rights outweigh human rights to breathe.
Like I said, I don’t dislike animals, I’m just baffled by their privileged travel status. It seems like you can be silver, gold, or chairman — but you’re better off canine or feline if you want that first class treatment!
If you have thoughts on small animals in flight, let me know!