My mother has a friend who occasionally flies into a small municipal airport served by a commuter airline that partners with major carriers. When it came time for the friend to return home, I drove my mother and the friend to the airport. The friend had not purchased the return ticket in advance, so decisions were being made on the spot at the counter. The choices for connection with the major carrier were Frontier and Continental. Continental allowed in-cabin pets in a soft pet taxi, but it cost $400 more than Frontier. Frontier would not allow in-cabin pets.
Although she chose Frontier, the commuter airline said the friend could put the dog in the cabin for the flight to the connecting hub, and could at least have the dog with her until it came time to board Frontier for the leg home. However, she had left the soft pet taxi at my mother’s house, and only had a hard-sided taxi for the cargo hold.
I was not on the flight, but my hell was having to witness the weeping and wailing and gnashing of teeth that ensued when the baggage handlers put the precious doggy in the bottom of the cargo hold and began stacking other luggage on top of it, all in full view of the ground-level terminal where we stood. The poor friend looked like one of those horrible scenes you see on the news when a there’s a bus crash in a third-world country. She was bawling and blubbering and had liquid flowing from every opening on her face.
Then she had to go through security which was just an adjoining room, and wait for the boarding call while my mother and I waited in the first room. When it finally came time to board, she stood and turned to the window and she and my mother put their hands on the glass like you would see in a prison movie. At that moment, this story went from the “Animal” category to the “Illness” category because I threw up a little in my mouth.