Horrified Over Treatment of Pet in Cargo Hold

February 3, 2013

in Animal Stories

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.

{ 9 comments… read them below or add one }

question February 4, 2013 at 1:59 am

did anything happen to the dog or the crate? or was it all fine and nothing happened at end?

crates are pretty strong and can take a lot of "punishment"


James February 4, 2013 at 7:38 am

Indeed — is this the complete story? It feels like it was cut off in the middle.


Gregg - admin February 4, 2013 at 11:14 pm

It would be nice to know what happened to the dog. I can understand wailing and gnashing of teeth if the poor dog was in a soft-sided carrier. But as noted, hard-sided crates are strong, although it still wouldn't be right to toss luggage on top of it. Hopefully the story's author will provide more details.


Aaron February 5, 2013 at 9:29 am

And then….????


Sue February 7, 2013 at 7:48 pm

This is exactly why my ferrets are not going in cargo when I move to Seattle. They will stay in St Louis til it is nice enough for us to fly back and drive to Seattle with them. I've heard way too many horror stories about how they are handled.


Joe April 28, 2013 at 5:07 pm

Many airlines won't allow ferrets, rats, snakes, mice, or any other rodents in the cabin.
Better check before you buy a ticket. Ferrets may be your best friends, but many people can't stand the smell


runi February 16, 2013 at 11:21 pm

I agree with Sue (above). I have read many horror stories about pets who are shipped as cargo. My cat has flown only as a cabin pet (she's quite good about it), I'm just lucky I'm not forced to choose, but if she were a larger dog . . .


Uh and ... April 29, 2013 at 2:13 pm

This feels like BS. First, how would you see in the cargo hold to see where things were being placed and stacked and second, there are typically two cargo holds and animals go in the heated one and typically luggage goes in the non-heated one. if you are just talking about the carts where they placed the luggage, then all should be fine as the hard cages are very durable and of course there would be reactions by the dog, this was probably new and scary.


dog August 9, 2013 at 10:28 pm

easy, call the police and report animal cruelty, than hand the phone to an airport rep, if you have time, make a call to the SPCA too


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