Flight Attendant Stories

Archive for the ‘Pets and Creatures’ Category

Ewchie, Coochie, Woof, Woof


Puppy on Australian beach.

Sheila, Oh Sheila!

A kangaroo snow creature with a baby – called a joey – in her pouch!  Sheila was created by an Australian visitor to NY during the holiday snow storm on Long Island.  Our thanks to Huw for his delightful work!

A Sad Tail

The death of seven puppies this past August, 2010 on an American Airline flight from Tulsa to Chicago may have been caused by heat.

Immediately after the puppy deaths, the Humane Society called for an investigation, saying, “If these puppies died because of the hot conditions in the cargo hold, then this would be a violation of the Animal Welfare Act…the suffering that these animals may have endured before they died is difficult to imagine, defenseless puppies (probably) trapped inside a sweltering cargo hold.”

American Airlines conducted an animal autopsy on each puppy, called a necropsy, with inconclusive results. According to a spokeswoman for American Airlines, even though the autopsy results were inconclusive, the reports stated heat may have been a factor in the deaths.

A shipper put the puppies on Flight 851 scheduled to leave Tulsa, OK at 6:30 a.m., but the departure was delayed by storms in Chicago.

As the plane sat on the tarmac, the temperatures rose to 86 degrees, according to the National Weather Service, even though American Airlines’ policy dictates they will not fly animals when the temperature is above 85 degrees. The airline claims cargo temps typically are between 50 and 70 degrees.

Baggage handlers taking the puppies to a kennel area at O’Hare Airport grew concerned because the puppies looked lethargic. Employees tried to cool down the dogs, and they were taken to a vet’s office, but five died initially and two others died later.

The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA) recommends that pet owners not fly their pets in airline cargo holds.

Most airlines will allow one animal in the cabin per coach, business, or first class, but it has to fit under the seat in front of you and you can’t take the animal out during the flight.

Some suggestions to safeguard pets in flight when they are shipped in the cargo hold:

• Fly animals only on direct flights
• Put ice cubes in a plastic bag and, just before departure, put the cubes in a water dish to insure your pet can hydrate
• Insist that your pet be removed from the plane if the flight is delayed.
• Be certain you see your pet’s kennel cage loaded onto your flight, and if at all possible, use a professional pet transportation company, such as those found at Independent Pet Animal Transportation Association (IPATA).

The U.S. Department of Agriculture is conducting a separate investigation of the American Airlines incident.

What’s the message here?  Transport your pet in the passenger cabin of the aircraft if you can. 

For more information about transporting pets by air click here:  https://www.faa.gov/passengers/fly_pets/ 

and…here:  https://www.usda.gov/wps/portal/usda/usdahome?navid=PETS&parentnav=TRAVEL_RECREATION&navtype=RT