What People Say When I Fly With My Dog


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Vinn and I have flown with our dog, Copley, about 15 times. She’s flown on a round trip flight from Germany to Chicago and, of course, the initial flight when we first moved to Germany. Read about that experience here, it’s a good one because I flew by myself with her. Copley has been on flights to Amsterdam, Nice and Croatia, to name a few.

We are lucky because she is so small and can fly in the cabin with us. We don’t have to deal with going to cargo or worrying if the airline will forget to put her on the plane. She is with us at all times. Thank goodness. We use this airline pet carrier and have had no issues.

Airplane Travel with a Dog

She is a well-behaved dog, for the most part. She barks a little bit at the beginning when we’re just taxing or about to take off and then again when we taxi after we land. I mean, I would, too, because there are a lot of weird sounds and movements that happen on a plane. But once we take off, she barely makes a sound. I forget she’s even with us. One time, she popped her head out her bag (I leave the zipper a little unzipped so I can put my hand in there if she does start barking or whining), looked around for a minute, realized we weren’t ready to take her out and went back inside. She is an angel.

Flying with a dog does have it’s drawbacks, though. It can be expensive, we don’t really get to relax because we’re walking her around the airport making sure she’s had enough exercise and we have to deal with some of interesting questions, insights and comments from other passengers. Some of them are outlandish and some are quite funny, especially now that they’re over. I thought I’d share of of the strange things that have happened to us when we’ve flown with our dog.

I’d love to hear if you have any experiences with this or other rude comments from people when traveling?

“And you aren’t going to put your dog up there?” Seriously. On our flight to Croatia, we were flying Eurowings and the plane was three seats per side of the plane. Vinn and I had the middle and aisle seat on one side. Normally, I would sit in the middle because Copley does better if people aren’t walking by her and I’m smaller, so Vinn doesn’t have to worry about sitting in the middle.

On this particular flight, a passenger is already sitting in the window seat as I start to put Copley under the seat in front of me. She looks visibly shaken, like moves out of the way so the dog won’t touch her. I just smile, waiting for her to say something. Here’s how the conversation goes:

Woman: Oh, is that a dog? I’m allergic.

I stop putting Copley under the seat and just sort of freeze trying to figure out what to do. 

Woman: And you’re not going to up it up there? She points to the overhead bin. 

Me: Put my dog up there? No, shaking my head with quite a bit of condescension in my voice. She’s hypoallergenic, though, and been on many flights. She will be quiet the whole time.

Woman: I mean, I’ll just be sneezing the whole time.

We summon the flight attendant to see if the other woman can trade seats with someone and ultimately determine that if Vinn sits in the middle and I sit in the aisle seat with the dog underneath, that’s fine. Apparently, being an extra three inches away from her will prevent her from sneezing.

And do you want to know something, bitch didn’t sneeze one time the entire flight.

Moral of the story: Don’t ask if I’m going to put my dog in the overhead bin. Would you want to be put up there? Would you ask a person with a baby to put their baby “up there?” No. Shut your pie hole.

I would also like to point out that 99% of the time, everyone is lovely on our flights with our dog. People come up wanting to pet her or don’t even realize she’s there until we let her out at baggage claim. This particular woman was just super crabby. She even yelled at a flight attendant for giving her soda water when she wanted a diet soda. She was not pleasant and is the reason Americans get a bad rap.

“Oh, is there a dog on here? That’s not going to work.” This happened while on a trip back to Germany from Chicago. We were boarding, Copley barked a little bit because babies were crying and people were moving around quickly. A woman a couple of rows back says, quite loudly, “Is there a dog on here? Well, that’s just not going to work.” Again with this attitude like my dog is a huge inconvenience for her. So, I said, “No, that’s me,” very, very sarcastically. She gave me the death stare, I gave her one back and then we went about our flight. Copley did not make a sound the rest of the flight. The intercontinental flight. With at least 4 screaming babies.

I do get it, no one wants to hear a dog barking for 8 or 9 hours, I don’t either. Vinn and I do everything we can to make sure Copley behaves while we are flying and traveling in general.

“Aww, look at your dog!” This is the majority of what we hear when we bring Copley to the airport. Most people see her cute face and instantly smile. She brings joy wherever she goes!

“Your dog did so well.” Several flight attendants have stopped me to say what a great job Copley did on the flight. Then they tell me some horror story of a dog barking or whining the entire time. I imagine this is what parents feel like when their children behave or exceed in school. It makes me feel so good when she behaves and then to get complimented on it is extra special.

Overall, flying with Copley isn’t a bad experience and getting to visit all these amazing places with her is just the best. If you are traveling with your dog, please be prepared for some people to say some nasty things to you and for others to obsess over how cute she is. I like to realize how funny some of these things are and that she is a great dog. Plus, I know I’ll never see these people again, so who cares!

Flying with my dog, what other people say

Have you ever flown with your dog or child and had someone say something nasty or judgmental to you? How did you handle it?

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