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Old 02-10-2020, 12:48 AM
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I think my cats are probably going to die. ;(


At the end of May we're going to be moving from Hawaii back to the mainland. It's going to be a 5 hour flight, plus a flight change in San Francisco. We have to take our two cats with us, but my parents won't pay for them to ride on the airplane with us. And I've been jobless for a very long time, so have no power or control over their fates. So they're going to be tossed into the back of the plane with the luggage, and probably perish.

It's probably not a 100% chance of death, but there are just soooo many things that could go wrong, especially with a plane switch. Plus, they're going to be terrified and all alone in their final moments.

Does anyone here think that maybe their chances of survival are a little bit higher than I'm fearing? I asked dad to try and choose an airline that keeps your pets in a safe room and only puts them on the plane after everyone else is on, but I doubt he will.

One thing that might have influenced his decision is that for some reason, hardly any airlines let you take animals in the cabin to-and-from-Hawaii. I don't know why airlines have to be so cruel.
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Old 02-10-2020, 01:28 AM
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Oh. I don't know. That sounds horrible. I wouldn't do it. I would try to find a foster home for them. Or a no-kill shelter.
So sorry you having to go through this.
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Old 02-10-2020, 01:39 AM
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I don't know what the odds are on survival of cats in the luggage hold, but I do know that those cats depend on you. You adopted them. They are your responsibility. You have to do everything you can to make sure they are okay. If that means re-homing them, or finding the money to take them into the main cabin, whatever it takes, it is your responsibility. You need to find a way. I don't even like cats, and I wouldn't put their lives at risk. You shouldn't either.

Last edited by Tim R. Mortiss; 02-10-2020 at 01:40 AM.
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Old 02-10-2020, 02:02 AM
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I say they're my cats because I love them, but legally I don't think they are since my parents are the ones who are financially responsible for them. I'm not really sure how that works, but even if I could somehow take both cats away somewhere safe, I think that would be stealing.

Mom says she'll talk to dad about them again though about it, so maybe there's still a chance. And when I was googling to see if pets ever survive the cargo hold one site said that the majority of the time they do. Although it's still dangerous. But it's not a 100% risk, at least.


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Out of more than a half-million animals that flew by plane in 2016, there was an incident in about 1 out of every 10,000 trips. Even on United, which transported the second highest number of animals that year and had the second highest rate of incidents, about 2 out of every 10,000 animals had incidents. (Alaska Airlines transported 3,000 more animals, and Hawaiian Airlines had a higher incident rate, although the rate was skewed by the relatively low number of animals they transported.
)

site: https://www.preventivevet.com/dogs/s...in-plane-cargo
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Old 02-10-2020, 02:05 AM
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FWIW, I used to work of a air cargo company and saw dozens of animals in the warehouse waiting be put on the plane. They were always the last to be put in the cargo hold and there was a time limit that they could say in the warehouse and in the cargo hold of the plane, I think it was two hours max. If the flight is delayed, they'll call and you have to pick up the animal.

According to the this site: https://www.transportation.gov/airco...veling-animals

"Over two million pets and other live animals are transported by air every year in the United States. Federal and state governments impose restrictions on transporting live animals. In addition, each airline establishes its own company policy for the proper handling of the animals they transport. As a shipper or owner you also have a responsibility to take the necessary precautions to ensure the well being of the animal you ship."

Cats are very resilient, they have nine lives and are very, very likely to survive the flight.

FYI, if you're ever planning to return to Hawaii, it's probably better not to bring them back with you as Hawaii is rabies free and generally requires cats and dogs to be kept in quarantine for 3-4 months. A new 5 day or less option has recently been passed, but the requirements are really lengthy and costly: https://hdoa.hawaii.gov/ai/files/201...klist-5DOL.pdf
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Old 02-10-2020, 02:08 AM
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If the cats are a snub-nosed breed, don't put them in the cargo hold. Those breeds are prone to respiratory issues in flight. Some airlines won't accept snub-nosed breeds for transport for that reason. Check the airline's website for specific information.

The odds of the cats dying en route are tiny--less than .2%. Here's a website that gives helpful information on getting pets ready for a trip in the cargo hold. For instance, if they know pets are in the cargo area, pilots can turn the temp up in there.

Will you be living with your parents when you get back to the states? Are they cat-friendly?
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Old 02-10-2020, 02:12 AM
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Of course animal transport is safe. Those big national cat and dog shows aren't just animals within driving distance. Some of them have to be flown over in the cargo hold.
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Old 02-10-2020, 02:31 AM
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@lingyi, it's nice to know that sometimes airlines do what they say they do.

One lady who flew United said she watched the airline do everything in the exact opposite of what they say they did, and her dog was severely injured, and almost died. But her cat was just severely dehydrated. I don't know if United always lies about how they treat pets, or if that was just a bad day.

https://www.cntraveler.com/story/is-...lying-in-cargo

I certainly hope we never have to move back. If I can manage to get disability like dad wants me to, I won't have to keep living with them. Or if a miracle happens and I find a job that lets me support myself. But anyway. I do not want to ever move back here!


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Originally Posted by nelliebly View Post
If the cats are a snub-nosed breed, don't put them in the cargo hold. Those breeds are prone to respiratory issues in flight. Some airlines won't accept snub-nosed breeds for transport for that reason. Check the airline's website for specific information.

The odds of the cats dying en route are tiny--less than .2%. Here's a website that gives helpful information on getting pets ready for a trip in the cargo hold. For instance, if they know pets are in the cargo area, pilots can turn the temp up in there.

Will you be living with your parents when you get back to the states? Are they cat-friendly?
How do you tell if your cat is snub nosed? I think mine just have normal cat noses. I know one is a tortie, and I can't remember what the vet called Smokey.

Yes, we're all living together now, and they're usually pretty nice to the cats. Patches likes mom the best.
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Old 02-10-2020, 03:40 AM
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My cats have flown in the cargo hold. They came through just fine. A few tips from my own experience:

-- They should visit a vet before the flight, just to make sure that they are healthy enough to fly, and get any vaccinations required by their destination.

-- Make sure that the cats have a reservation. Airlines often have restrictions on how many animals they can carry in the cargo hold (say, only two pets per aircraft); you want to reserve a place for them as soon as you can. Do not just show up at the airport, and hope they have room. Deal directly with the airline for this; do not rely on Expedia and similar. Only the airline can confirm that your cats do indeed have a reservation on your flight.

-- First thing you do when you get to the airport is to check the cats in, at your airline's "Special Baggage" counter. They should be placed in the care of a human who will take them away on a cart and personally deliver them to the gate, so they do not have to go through conveyor belts and laser scans, like regular baggage.

-- Label their carriers with their names, the time of their last food and water, and your contact information. That contact info should be your cellphone. If anything goes awry, the airline can contact you at the destination airport while you are waiting to pick them up from "Special Baggage" claim. Also, include your destination address, just in case.

A few tips our vet let us in on before their flight:

-- No food 12 hours before flight time. It lessens the chance that they will throw up in their carriers.

-- You can give them water up until flight time (or at least, until you leave for the airport).

-- Put some familiar things in their carriers. These might include a blanket or towel that carries your smell. A familiar small toy helps too; they are unlikely to play with it, but it is a sense of something familiar, and will help calm them.

-- Do not sedate them. Cats are most comfortable when they have their full faculties; airports and aircraft are very unfamiliar to cats (obviously), and if they feel impaired in what they're going through, they're not going to be happy.

Here's my recounting of one time that I flew with my cats. They all arrived healthy and more-or-less happy:

http://boards.straightdope.com/sdmb/...&postcount=110
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Old 02-10-2020, 03:51 AM
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Originally Posted by Spoons View Post
My cats have flown in the cargo hold. They came through just fine. A few tips from my own experience:

-- They should visit a vet before the flight, just to make sure that they are healthy enough to fly, and get any vaccinations required by their destination.

-- Make sure that the cats have a reservation. Airlines often have restrictions on how many animals they can carry in the cargo hold (say, only two pets per aircraft); you want to reserve a place for them as soon as you can. Do not just show up at the airport, and hope they have room. Deal directly with the airline for this; do not rely on Expedia and similar. Only the airline can confirm that your cats do indeed have a reservation on your flight.

-- First thing you do when you get to the airport is to check the cats in, at your airline's "Special Baggage" counter. They should be placed in the care of a human who will take them away on a cart and personally deliver them to the gate, so they do not have to go through conveyor belts and laser scans, like regular baggage.

-- Label their carriers with their names, the time of their last food and water, and your contact information. That contact info should be your cellphone. If anything goes awry, the airline can contact you at the destination airport while you are waiting to pick them up from "Special Baggage" claim. Also, include your destination address, just in case.

A few tips our vet let us in on before their flight:

-- No food 12 hours before flight time. It lessens the chance that they will throw up in their carriers.

-- You can give them water up until flight time (or at least, until you leave for the airport).

-- Put some familiar things in their carriers. These might include a blanket or towel that carries your smell. A familiar small toy helps too; they are unlikely to play with it, but it is a sense of something familiar, and will help calm them.

-- Do not sedate them. Cats are most comfortable when they have their full faculties; airports and aircraft are very unfamiliar to cats (obviously), and if they feel impaired in what they're going through, they're not going to be happy.

Here's my recounting of one time that I flew with my cats. They all arrived healthy and more-or-less happy:

http://boards.straightdope.com/sdmb/...&postcount=110
Thanks for sharing your story. It's nice your cats didn't have to switch planes. I'm glad everything went well.

There are so many horror stories out there. You just never know. But it's good to know that not all stories end tragically. And yes, a certificate from a vet is required over here, so we'll get that done.
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Old 02-10-2020, 06:43 AM
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I'm sympathetic, TheMysteryWriter. I am. But this appears to be one of those times where the dictum that 'Humans are very bad at assessing risk' comes into play.

According to this article from Smithsonian (data from Department of Transportation 2013), more than 2 million pets are flown as cargo per year. Of those, 97 died.

So that works out to 97/2,000,000 or 0.00485%. A vanishing rare event. It's 1 in 20,618.

By contrast, the odds of having a child with Steven Hawking level IQ is 1 in 11,100.

Odds of an amateur golfer hitting a hold in one on a par three are 1 in 12,500.

I know it's cold comfort. But getting yourself into a worrisome state won't help you or the cats.

Good luck with the move. I hope you enjoy where you end up.
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Old 02-10-2020, 09:53 AM
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After an AI attempt failed we had a bitch shipped from Reno to Ann Arbor and back for a natural service. At the time -- 25 years ago -- there as only one service that would ship a dog as cargo rather than accompanied baggage, Delta Dash, and she made both trips okay, other than wanting to pee right now, when we let her out of the crate.
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Old 02-10-2020, 10:34 AM
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How do you tell if your cat is snub nosed? I think mine just have normal cat noses. I know one is a tortie, and I can't remember what the vet called Smokey.
Tortie is just short for tortoiseshell, which refers to the cat's coloring. Like calico or white or tuxedo. It has nothing to do with breed.

Think of a Persian. You know how their noses appear to be a bit squished back into their faces? That's a snub nosed breed (dogs also have snub-nosed breeds, such as an English Bulldog). They are more prone to respiratory problems. If your cats have "normal" faces, where their snout is projected outward, they're less prone to breathing problems.
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Old 02-10-2020, 11:54 AM
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I'm sympathetic, TheMysteryWriter. I am. But this appears to be one of those times where the dictum that 'Humans are very bad at assessing risk' comes into play.
Also 'People with horror stories are far more likely to post them to the internet.' Horror stories go viral; boring success stories don't.
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Old 02-10-2020, 12:02 PM
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Airlines would not be allowed to transport animals in a manner that would "probably cause them to die". They wouldn't want to even try if they could because animal rights activists would crucify them in the media. Sure, there is a small inherent risk involved, so you will have to make a decision about what is more important, leaving your cats behind and never seeing them again or taking that small inherent risk.
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Old 02-10-2020, 12:24 PM
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Thanks everyone for helping me calm down a little. I tried looking this up before on here and I only found posts on the "never fly them cargo cos they'll die side." I'm still trying to prepare myself for the worst cos I do not cope well at all with unpleasant surprises.

One thing with airlines is I do not trust them. They seem to have near godlike power, and I think they could kill every, or nearly every animal on board and it wouldn't hurt them any. Airlines lose entire airplanes full of people, and people still book flights. United forcibly dragged a screaming man off their plane and it didn't hurt them any. Animal rights activists have zero power. They do get angry and loud whenever an animal dies on a plane. Nothing happens after.

We're all peasants and the airlines are the lords. But still, I don't think they try and kill your pet. But they don't care much either way because they don't have to. They know people have to fly, and if they have a ticket sale peeps will flock to them no matter how much bad publicity they've had. At least this is how it seems to work, inside my brain. My brain isn't always calibrated with reality. I'm not always a 100% sure what reality is, but this board helps a lot. I'm really glad it exists!
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Old 02-10-2020, 03:58 PM
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We have two kitties, and in November we transported them in 3 separate flights over 7 thousand km. They went in cargo in carriers, and were delivered to a boarding facility upon final landing.

When we eventually picked them up after 6 weeks they both gave us phenomenal stink-eyes, but were otherwise fine.
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Old 02-10-2020, 04:01 PM
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Thanks everyone for helping me calm down a little. I tried looking this up before on here and I only found posts on the "never fly them cargo cos they'll die side." I'm still trying to prepare myself for the worst cos I do not cope well at all with unpleasant surprises.

One thing with airlines is I do not trust them. They seem to have near godlike power, and I think they could kill every, or nearly every animal on board and it wouldn't hurt them any. Airlines lose entire airplanes full of people, and people still book flights. United forcibly dragged a screaming man off their plane and it didn't hurt them any. Animal rights activists have zero power. They do get angry and loud whenever an animal dies on a plane. Nothing happens after.

We're all peasants and the airlines are the lords. But still, I don't think they try and kill your pet. But they don't care much either way because they don't have to. They know people have to fly, and if they have a ticket sale peeps will flock to them no matter how much bad publicity they've had. At least this is how it seems to work, inside my brain. My brain isn't always calibrated with reality. I'm not always a 100% sure what reality is, but this board helps a lot. I'm really glad it exists!
Well no wonder you freaked yourself out. You seem to have a lot of misgivings and hatred toward airlines in general (not perfect angels, but hardly the Devil incarnate, IMO). Hopefully you don't have to fly for a very long time, after this trip.
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Old 02-10-2020, 04:03 PM
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We have two kitties, and in November we transported them in 3 separate flights over 7 thousand km. They went in cargo in carriers, and were delivered to a boarding facility upon final landing.

When we eventually picked them up after 6 weeks they both gave us phenomenal stink-eyes, but were otherwise fine.
Hurraaaays! I'm glad they were okay.

The more positive stories I hear the better. I hope we won't have 3 flights! We did when we moved over though.
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Old 02-10-2020, 04:15 PM
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Well no wonder you freaked yourself out. You seem to have a lot of misgivings and hatred toward airlines in general (not perfect angels, but hardly the Devil incarnate, IMO). Hopefully you don't have to fly for a very long time, after this trip.
Thanks. I hope so too! The folks are flying off to my ex sister in law's wedding a couple weeks after we move, but I said I was not going!
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Old 02-10-2020, 05:50 PM
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My cousin moved to Latvia a couple of years ago. She found a home for one of her cats before she left, but the other one was twelve years old and not very social with anyone but her. She decided to leave him with her mom (who didn't want him permanently) while she found herself a place and got settled. I was the one who did the health and USDA certifications for him, then took him to the airport. He had to change planes in Iceland, but he made it to Latvia fine, although mightily ticked off. He's still doing fine at 16 years old.

Be sure to check what kind of health certificates they might need. I think you're supposed to have a vet certificate even going from state-to-state here in the 48. Other than that, I'd be stressed, too, but the likelihood is they'll be just fine.
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Old 02-10-2020, 06:48 PM
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We took our cat from WDC to Lisbon. Then we took her from Lisbon back to WDC two years later. Then we took her from WDC to Bamako, Mali via Paris. Two years later did the reverse. Then from WDC to Kampala, Uganda and from there to Anchorage, AK a year later. Then, ten years later, she flew from Anchorage to Portland, OR, where she finally died of old age and cancer. Some of those flights were in the cabin and some were in the hold. She survived just fine.
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Old 02-10-2020, 07:02 PM
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Thanks for the happy travel stories @Helena and @ChefGuy , Smokey and I love hearing them!

@Helena, yes, we will be taking both cats to the vet soon to get their health certificates.

@ChefGuy, wow, you and your kitty are world travelers! Mine have never left Hawaii before. The furthest they've ever been to was to the vet 15 minutes away.
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Old 02-10-2020, 10:34 PM
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The cats are yours if you adopted them, you're the one who cares for them, and they're in your possession. Period.

You're spending way too much time and worry on way too remote a possibility. The odds of your pets arriving safely are, for all essential purposes,100%. And you're wrong about airlines not caring. An airline cares about their reputation. If even 1% of United Airline's planes crashed, you can bet few people would book flights with United. If Airlines X develops a reputation for 1% of the pets transported dying, you can bet most people transporting pets would book with an airline with a better safety record.

Also, airlines are staffed by people, people who often own pets.

Take a deep breath and relax. Your kitties will be OK.
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Old 02-11-2020, 12:27 AM
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Sorry to add to the paranoia, but at the cargo company I worked for, there was a worker who purposely kicked the carrier that a dog was in several time because the dog was howling, something most of them do. Somebody finally caught him in the act and he was fired immediately. Yes, there are a-holes everywhere, but at least in the airline industry, they don't stick around long. BTW, there were cameras watching every inch of the warehouse, so there was absolute proof.
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Old 02-11-2020, 01:11 AM
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The cats are yours if you adopted them, you're the one who cares for them, and they're in your possession. Period.

You're spending way too much time and worry on way too remote a possibility. The odds of your pets arriving safely are, for all essential purposes,100%. And you're wrong about airlines not caring. An airline cares about their reputation. If even 1% of United Airline's planes crashed, you can bet few people would book flights with United. If Airlines X develops a reputation for 1% of the pets transported dying, you can bet most people transporting pets would book with an airline with a better safety record.

Also, airlines are staffed by people, people who often own pets.

Take a deep breath and relax. Your kitties will be OK.

Thank you. *takes deep breath*

I'm still not entirely convinced about airlines caring, but maybe some of them do sometimes. It just depends on the particular people in charge at that moment, I suppose. And maybe I'm too cynical.

@lingyi I'm glad to know the dog kicker got fired. Did he hurt any of the dogs too badly or kill any of them? I'd like to think that someone gets fired every time a pet gets hurt, but I don't know since the airlines don't like to publicly admit fault when these things happen. So you never know what's happening behind the scenes.
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Old 02-11-2020, 02:07 AM
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I'm a pilot for an airline that regularly carries pets in the cargo hold. I've never heard of any coming to any harm. Because our domestic sectors (in New Zealand) are relatively short, our domestic jets (A320) do not have a control for the cargo hold temperature, basically we aren't in the air long enough for the temperature to drop to a dangerous level. Our international jets (A320, B787, B777) have a cargo heat control. When we have pets in the hold we set the temperature to a comfortable level. We have a page on one of the flight deck systems displays that shows the temperature in the hold.

As well as this, I have personally sent four cats on a journey that involved one domestic sector in Australia, a night with a vet for a final checkup, an international sector to New Zealand, another night with a vet, then two more domestic sectors. The cats were fine, pissed off, but fine.

Your cat's will be fine. Try not to worry too much about them.
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Old 02-11-2020, 03:39 AM
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I'm a pilot for an airline that regularly carries pets in the cargo hold. I've never heard of any coming to any harm. Because our domestic sectors (in New Zealand) are relatively short, our domestic jets (A320) do not have a control for the cargo hold temperature, basically we aren't in the air long enough for the temperature to drop to a dangerous level. Our international jets (A320, B787, B777) have a cargo heat control. When we have pets in the hold we set the temperature to a comfortable level. We have a page on one of the flight deck systems displays that shows the temperature in the hold.

As well as this, I have personally sent four cats on a journey that involved one domestic sector in Australia, a night with a vet for a final checkup, an international sector to New Zealand, another night with a vet, then two more domestic sectors. The cats were fine, pissed off, but fine.

Your cat's will be fine. Try not to worry too much about them.
Awe, I bet New Zealand airlines are nice. They probably don't drag people screaming down the aisle so they can throw them off the plane like some airlines do. To be fair, I only know of one that did that but the event kind of scarred me and makes me fear airlines from the US. Even if it doesn't happen very often, just the knowledge that it could, and nothing bad will happen to the airline still fills me with rage.

So I have to try and forget about that because everyone here is telling me my cats will be safe and the bad things happen very rarely, and the rational part of me believes everyone and is thankful for all of the help and support!

The irrational part of me thinks my parents hide spy cameras to watch me when they're not here, even after tons of evidence to the contrary, that part of my brain is still scared. Can't turn it off. But I know it's irrational so I can just shut it behind a door. Acknowledge its existence, but don't give in to it. I'll try and do that with airlines now.
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Old 02-11-2020, 03:52 AM
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The times I have transported cats via the cargo hold:

Boston-Los Angeles-Hawaii-Pohnpei (Micronesia) - two cats, both fine
Pohnpei-Hawaii-Los Angeles-Boston - same two cats, both fine
Boston-LA-Tokyo-Jakarta - same two cats, both fine
Jakarta-Singapore-Dubai-Johannesburg-Maputo (Mozambique) - same two cats, both fine
(One cat died peacefully of old age in Maputo)
Maputo-Johannesburg-Dubai-Tokyo-Jakarta - one cat, a little stressed at first (she was pretty old) but fine after a day or two
(That cat died peacefully of old age in Jakarta)
Jakarta-Singapore-Dubai-Cairo - one cat, she was fine
(Acquired a second cat in Cairo)
Cairo-Dubai-Singapore-Jakarta - two cats, extremely complicated bureaucratic requirements, but both cats absolutely fine

If I can count, that adds up to TWELVE international cat-moves, or 38 cat-flights in the cargo hold if you count each leg for each cat.

Sure, things can go wrong, and every now and then you do hear some horrific story about a mix-up related to pets traveling in cargo (though even then, many stories have a happy ending after the pet accidentally sent to New Jersey instead of Indianapolis is eventually reunited with its owner). But take it from me - most of the time, it is the pet OWNER whose stress reverberates. The animal may hate the trip, but 10 minutes after being reunited with a beloved owner they start to forget the scary parts.
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Old 02-11-2020, 04:00 AM
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The times I have transported cats via the cargo hold:

Boston-Los Angeles-Hawaii-Pohnpei (Micronesia) - two cats, both fine
Pohnpei-Hawaii-Los Angeles-Boston - same two cats, both fine
Boston-LA-Tokyo-Jakarta - same two cats, both fine
Jakarta-Singapore-Dubai-Johannesburg-Maputo (Mozambique) - same two cats, both fine
(One cat died peacefully of old age in Maputo)
Maputo-Johannesburg-Dubai-Tokyo-Jakarta - one cat, a little stressed at first (she was pretty old) but fine after a day or two
(That cat died peacefully of old age in Jakarta)
Jakarta-Singapore-Dubai-Cairo - one cat, she was fine
(Acquired a second cat in Cairo)
Cairo-Dubai-Singapore-Jakarta - two cats, extremely complicated bureaucratic requirements, but both cats absolutely fine

If I can count, that adds up to TWELVE international cat-moves, or 38 cat-flights in the cargo hold if you count each leg for each cat.

Sure, things can go wrong, and every now and then you do hear some horrific story about a mix-up related to pets traveling in cargo (though even then, many stories have a happy ending after the pet accidentally sent to New Jersey instead of Indianapolis is eventually reunited with its owner). But take it from me - most of the time, it is the pet OWNER whose stress reverberates. The animal may hate the trip, but 10 minutes after being reunited with a beloved owner they start to forget the scary parts.
Wow! I admire your bravery with all the traveling. How soon after arrival did those cats die, who died? Were you living in those places, so it was years later, or just visiting and they died during the trip? It sounds like it all went really well, so long as there was quite a bit of time in between flight and death.
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Old 02-11-2020, 04:12 AM
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Yes, I lived in all those places, for anywhere from 3 to 11 years at a time. None of my cats died of anything but natural causes completely unrelated to air travel.
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Old 02-11-2020, 04:30 AM
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I'm a pilot for an airline that regularly carries pets in the cargo hold. I've never heard of any coming to any harm. Because our domestic sectors (in New Zealand) are relatively short, our domestic jets (A320) do not have a control for the cargo hold temperature, basically we aren't in the air long enough for the temperature to drop to a dangerous level. Our international jets (A320, B787, B777) have a cargo heat control. When we have pets in the hold we set the temperature to a comfortable level. We have a page on one of the flight deck systems displays that shows the temperature in the hold.
Richard, thank you. As you can see from the above posts, I have flown my cats before, but I never knew how the cargo heat control worked, nor whether the pilots knew there were animals in the cargo hold. Now, I do; and should I have to fly my cats again, I won't worry.

We do have long domestic hops here in Canada (Toronto to Vancouver is five hours, for example), so I would hope that the the flight crew knows that there are animals on board, and they must be kept comfortable. Your post assures me that the crew do, and that they will do what they can to make the flight as comfortable for the pets, as for the humans. Thanks again!
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Old 02-11-2020, 04:43 AM
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We do have long domestic hops here in Canada (Toronto to Vancouver is five hours, for example), so I would hope that the the flight crew knows that there are animals on board, and they must be kept comfortable. Your post assures me that the crew do, and that they will do what they can to make the flight as comfortable for the pets, as for the humans. Thanks again!
Which reminds me, and this is likely more of a question for the veterinarians among us: how do pets deal with the change in air pressure?

I don't deal well with my ears and flying; I eat breath mints on takeoff and landing, and still cannot hear people after I've landed. Or I hear them too loudly. Or I hear my own words too loudly. How do cats, with their sensitive ears, and unable to eat breath mints like I can, deal with hearing, given the pressure changes in flight?
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Old 02-11-2020, 12:39 PM
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Thanks for the happy travel stories @Helena and @ChefGuy , Smokey and I love hearing them!

@Helena, yes, we will be taking both cats to the vet soon to get their health certificates.

@ChefGuy, wow, you and your kitty are world travelers! Mine have never left Hawaii before. The furthest they've ever been to was to the vet 15 minutes away.
Yeah, she was a real trooper. Actually, that last trip was a mis-remembrance. We drove from Alaska in our RV when we retired and spent six months on the road. In case anybody wonders, the cat died at the ripe old age of 19 or so.
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Old 02-11-2020, 02:19 PM
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I don't think that checking your cats to the cargo hold is free. Airlines will charge you regardless if you are checking them are bringing them into the cabin with you. I don't know the cost for checking , but I assume it's more than a checked bag. Carrying them into the cabin in a carrier under the seat in front of you is normally $125 one way.

You should look into the cost differential, to fully understand what the incremental cost to bring them into the cabin with you really is.
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Old 02-11-2020, 02:53 PM
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I'm sympathetic, TheMysteryWriter. I am. But this appears to be one of those times where the dictum that 'Humans are very bad at assessing risk' comes into play.

According to this article from Smithsonian (data from Department of Transportation 2013), more than 2 million pets are flown as cargo per year. Of those, 97 died.

So that works out to 97/2,000,000 or 0.00485%. A vanishing rare event. It's 1 in 20,618.
To add to that--this is the chance across all animals in all circumstances, including the sickest animals shipped by the most negligent animals under the worst possible conditions. If you're moving healthy animals under good conditions and are paying attention, no doubt their risk drops even further.

That said, MysteryWriter, maybe read that article? It mentions that the end of May is a tricky time for pets to fly, since it gets into warmer weather. If it's possible to send your cats ahead and board them somewhere on the mainland, that might be wise.
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Old 02-11-2020, 05:05 PM
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I don't think that checking your cats to the cargo hold is free. Airlines will charge you regardless if you are checking them are bringing them into the cabin with you. I don't know the cost for checking , but I assume it's more than a checked bag. Carrying them into the cabin in a carrier under the seat in front of you is normally $125 one way.

You should look into the cost differential, to fully understand what the incremental cost to bring them into the cabin with you really is.
On AA it looks like it's actually more expensive to check a pet than it is to carry it on ($200 vs $125). https://www.aa.com/i18n/travel-info/...tance/pets.jsp
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Old 02-11-2020, 10:45 PM
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Richard, thank you. As you can see from the above posts, I have flown my cats before, but I never knew how the cargo heat control worked, nor whether the pilots knew there were animals in the cargo hold. Now, I do; and should I have to fly my cats again, I won't worry.

We do have long domestic hops here in Canada (Toronto to Vancouver is five hours, for example), so I would hope that the the flight crew knows that there are animals on board, and they must be kept comfortable. Your post assures me that the crew do, and that they will do what they can to make the flight as comfortable for the pets, as for the humans. Thanks again!
We get a “NOTOC” which lists any dangerous goods and/or special load. Animals are classified as a special load and will be listed along with any heating requirements.
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Old 02-11-2020, 11:15 PM
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I think I've convinced them to keep the cats with us. You never know for sure with them they change their minds often, but for now it looks like they're going along with keeping them with us on the plane!

But if they change their minds it's good to know that they would likely be fine.
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Old 02-12-2020, 01:55 AM
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As long as you understand that having the cats on the plane with you may make you feel better but will probably make no difference to the cats. They will be stressed out regardless of where they're sitting.

Good luck with it all. Travelling with pets is stressful for everyone.
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Old 02-12-2020, 05:37 AM
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I've never flown with pets, but I have flown a number of times with autistic people, when I worked in supported living. The airlines treated us like royalty, and did everything they could to see that my clients had enjoyable flights. For the most part, they were not especially "high" functioning (which is to say, they didn't have good language skills, although I communicated well with them, which was why I flew with them).

These were different airlines, and these experiences have made me a big fan of air travel in general.

FWIW, it wasn't just on the flights that we were treated well, it was everywhere-- by the TSAs, and everyone.

The OPs paranoia about airlines and their evil scheming is, I think, unfounded. I don't know if this eases any of the worrying about the cats, but I've heard it said that you can judge an entity but the way it treats "animals and the disabled," I don't know about the first, but I know a bit about the second.

And I can also throw in the fact that when flew recently, there was a woman flying who was a recent lower leg amputee. The airline wanted to get a 1st class seat for her, and was offering people in first class a free ticket anywhere to give up their seat to this woman and fly in coach. They promised to still give them the "amenities" of first class (which I understood to mean free drinks), they just didn't get the nice seat. They did find someone to change, because I saw the woman in 1st later.
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Old 02-12-2020, 01:37 PM
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I have never flown with pets, but as a taxi driver who love animals, I have often picked animals up from the Copenhagen Airport (with their owners).
They have always been very happy to see their owner, and the dogs have the described "pee now" reaction, but I have never seen an injured or dead animal.
Last month I did drive 3 cats who had come all the way from Japan. They were fine even after the flight from Japan to CPH which is longer than Hawaii to mainland USA. Don't worry too much.
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Old 02-12-2020, 01:53 PM
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I think I've convinced them to keep the cats with us. You never know for sure with them they change their minds often, but for now it looks like they're going along with keeping them with us on the plane!

But if they change their minds it's good to know that they would likely be fine.
Please be aware that having them in the cabin with you doesn't mean you can take them out of the crate & play with/comfort them whenever you like. Your fellow passengers and flight crew really don't want a pair of pissed off/freaking out cats running through the plane.
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Old 02-12-2020, 03:45 PM
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Please be aware that having them in the cabin with you doesn't mean you can take them out of the crate & play with/comfort them whenever you like. Your fellow passengers and flight crew really don't want a pair of pissed off/freaking out cats running through the plane.
Well of course not. If I took one out it would run off and prolly get stuck somewhere and something awful would happen. They aren't going to be happy either way. I only want them with me so that if we get kicked off the plane, or a plane stops in a surprise place, or we get delayed, or whatever happens I won't have to worry about where they are or getting them back.

I was surprised by the earlier story shared about the person in first class getting kicked out of their seat for the amputee. I'd wrongly assumed paying for first class would prevent them from doing that. Luckily, someone "volunteered" so they didn't have to call the cops.
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Old 02-12-2020, 04:12 PM
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I was surprised by the earlier story shared about the person in first class getting kicked out of their seat for the amputee.
No one was being kicked out of a first class seat. The airline was offering incentives to get someone to choose to swap, and someone accepted their offer.
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Old 02-12-2020, 04:25 PM
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Well of course not. If I took one out it would run off and prolly get stuck somewhere and something awful would happen. They aren't going to be happy either way. I only want them with me so that if we get kicked off the plane, or a plane stops in a surprise place, or we get delayed, or whatever happens I won't have to worry about where they are or getting them back.

I was surprised by the earlier story shared about the person in first class getting kicked out of their seat for the amputee. I'd wrongly assumed paying for first class would prevent them from doing that. Luckily, someone "volunteered" so they didn't have to call the cops.
I assume you have some sort of anxiety disorder, and my heart goes out to you. It must be horrible to worry about improbable catastrophes as if they were probable and imagine people as being heartless and manipulative. This post alone is full of worst-case-scenario thinking. I understand that's the way your mind works and that logic and probability don't relieve your fears, but none of the scenarios you imagine here are anything but extremely remote to impossible: there's no place on the plane the cat would get irretrievably stuck; you're not going to do something bad enough (Right?) to get kicked off a plane; the plane isn't going to have to land in some "surprise" place; and if the flight gets delayed, the cats get delayed, too, and would be attended to.

As for this...

I was surprised by the earlier story shared about the person in first class getting kicked out of their seat for the amputee.

...nobody was "kicked out" of their seat for the amputee. They DID volunteer. If they hadn't, either the airlines would have found another flight for her or seated her in the bulkhead seat or made some other arrangements. I assume you're thinking of the news story where the man refused to give up his seat and was forced off the plane, but that was a case where the flight was overbooked: there literally were not enough seats for everyone aboard the plane. The amputee case was completely different and shows both the airline personnel and other passengers were (and are) reasonably compassionate people.

I wish you serene anticipation of a serene journey, no matter where the cats make the trip, and I wish you all the best in your life back on the mainland.
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Old 02-12-2020, 05:07 PM
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I assume you have some sort of anxiety disorder, and my heart goes out to you. It must be horrible to worry about improbable catastrophes as if they were probable and imagine people as being heartless and manipulative. This post alone is full of worst-case-scenario thinking. I understand that's the way your mind works and that logic and probability don't relieve your fears, but none of the scenarios you imagine here are anything but extremely remote to impossible: there's no place on the plane the cat would get irretrievably stuck; you're not going to do something bad enough (Right?) to get kicked off a plane; the plane isn't going to have to land in some "surprise" place; and if the flight gets delayed, the cats get delayed, too, and would be attended to.

As for this...

I was surprised by the earlier story shared about the person in first class getting kicked out of their seat for the amputee.

...nobody was "kicked out" of their seat for the amputee. They DID volunteer. If they hadn't, either the airlines would have found another flight for her or seated her in the bulkhead seat or made some other arrangements. I assume you're thinking of the news story where the man refused to give up his seat and was forced off the plane, but that was a case where the flight was overbooked: there literally were not enough seats for everyone aboard the plane. The amputee case was completely different and shows both the airline personnel and other passengers were (and are) reasonably compassionate people.

I wish you serene anticipation of a serene journey, no matter where the cats make the trip, and I wish you all the best in your life back on the mainland.

Yes, thank you, I do have a pretty severe anxiety disorder. My brain is a terrified twisted, and tangled tower of brokenness.

It's actually illegal to disobey a flight attendant which basically puts them on the same level as a cop. So if they decide you have to switch seats, or give up your seat you have no choice in the matter. I don't know if in the story above they would have made the seat switching an order if no one "volunteered", but legally they could. That's why it doesn't really seem like volunteering to me. If a cop says, "please go away and I'll give you a dollar. If you refuse and don't take the dollar you end up in jail. Not that cops ever say please or offer people money, so flight attendants at least try to be nice about it first. And I don't think they carry guns. Just the air marshalls, and I'm not sure if every flight has one of those. And airlines overbook all the time on purpose, so I'd think your chances of being ordered to give up your seat are pretty high. But of course with as many people flying every day as there are it's probably not an every flight occurrence. It's really just the fact that flight attendants have that power over you that bugs me the most. I don't like being helpless and trapped inside a tiny box. But then I feel helpless and trapped in general, which is why it feels a much bigger deal to me than to most people.

https://blogs.findlaw.com/law_and_li...attendant.html
  #48  
Old 02-13-2020, 01:33 AM
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Yes, thank you, I do have a pretty severe anxiety disorder. My brain is a terrified twisted, and tangled tower of brokenness.

It's actually illegal to disobey a flight attendant which basically puts them on the same level as a cop. So if they decide you have to switch seats, or give up your seat you have no choice in the matter. I don't know if in the story above they would have made the seat switching an order if no one "volunteered", but legally they could. That's why it doesn't really seem like volunteering to me. If a cop says, "please go away and I'll give you a dollar. If you refuse and don't take the dollar you end up in jail. Not that cops ever say please or offer people money, so flight attendants at least try to be nice about it first. And I don't think they carry guns. Just the air marshalls, and I'm not sure if every flight has one of those. And airlines overbook all the time on purpose, so I'd think your chances of being ordered to give up your seat are pretty high. But of course with as many people flying every day as there are it's probably not an every flight occurrence. It's really just the fact that flight attendants have that power over you that bugs me the most. I don't like being helpless and trapped inside a tiny box. But then I feel helpless and trapped in general, which is why it feels a much bigger deal to me than to most people.

https://blogs.findlaw.com/law_and_li...attendant.html
I'm so sorry you're afflicted with such a difficult condition. It takes courage and determination to live with that much anxiety. I doubt the rest of us can fully comprehend just how tough every day life is with severe anxiety. In amongst that terrified, twisted brain are some admirable qualities. I hope you recognize them.

Let's talk about flight attendants. No, it's not illegal to disobey a flight attendant. It's definitely illegal to disobey FAA regulations. The FAA says there must be a seat for each passenger. So if you're defiantly smoking a cigarette at 30,000 ft., the flight attendant can tell you you must extinguish it (FAA regs). But what happens if you don't? She can't arrest you or shove you out the door or even get you banned from future flights. She CAN report the violation to the pilot, who's ultimately responsible for the safety of all passengers.

One FAA regulation is that there must be a seat for every passenger. That's only sensible. Airlines routinely overbook flights because there are usually passengers who don't show, and there's seldom a profit from empty seats, but fewer than 1 in 10,000 passengers is involuntarily bumped from a flight. Flight attendants don't decide who gets bumped. They must tell the bumpee, but if he refuses to leave, they have to call in security personnel, who are more like police.

Flight attendants are not out to get you. They're out to help you have a safe, reasonably comfortable flight so the airlines gets your future business. IOW, they're on your side.
  #49  
Old 02-13-2020, 02:45 AM
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I'm so sorry you're afflicted with such a difficult condition. It takes courage and determination to live with that much anxiety. I doubt the rest of us can fully comprehend just how tough every day life is with severe anxiety. In amongst that terrified, twisted brain are some admirable qualities. I hope you recognize them.

Let's talk about flight attendants. No, it's not illegal to disobey a flight attendant. It's definitely illegal to disobey FAA regulations. The FAA says there must be a seat for each passenger. So if you're defiantly smoking a cigarette at 30,000 ft., the flight attendant can tell you you must extinguish it (FAA regs). But what happens if you don't? She can't arrest you or shove you out the door or even get you banned from future flights. She CAN report the violation to the pilot, who's ultimately responsible for the safety of all passengers.

One FAA regulation is that there must be a seat for every passenger. That's only sensible. Airlines routinely overbook flights because there are usually passengers who don't show, and there's seldom a profit from empty seats, but fewer than 1 in 10,000 passengers is involuntarily bumped from a flight. Flight attendants don't decide who gets bumped. They must tell the bumpee, but if he refuses to leave, they have to call in security personnel, who are more like police.

Flight attendants are not out to get you. They're out to help you have a safe, reasonably comfortable flight so the airlines gets your future business. IOW, they're on your side.
Thank you for being really nice. I tried to read your comment a couple of times to take it in and try to emotionally distance myself a bit. It does make more sense that their word isn't law, they're just acting as a messenger for the FAA which I guess is sky law. I didn't know the pilot had to make decisions about rule breaking passengers and who deserves which seats. I thought they just flew the plane. That must be annoying for them. Well, I'd find it annoying if I was a pilot anyway. But I guess it's just part of their job.
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Old 02-13-2020, 03:08 AM
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Interestingly I'm doing a google search about people being kicked off planes, and most of the time it seems to be because the passenger was being genuinely disruptive or abusive.
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