Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Airline Pet Fees

Although there are several things in this world I don't understand, and being blonde never seems to help the situation. I cannot seem to wrap my head around an airline pet fee. For those of you not aware of what it is I speak, heres the breakdown.

When you travel on the airlines, with your pet, you must pay a fee. This fee runs from $75 (each way) up to $200!!! Its sometimes more than MY ticket!

Now, if my pet is going in the belly of the plane, I can understand this. A little care is needed to make sure the pet is secured properly and that they are kept upright so your dog doesn't show up in Sheboygan with his food on his head and a broken paw. Or if the dog is of great weight or size and a few portly gentlemen need to get their lift on to get the pup into the belly, I get that.

BUT........this is not my scenario. Not even close. Here is how traveling goes with my 6lbs of crazy that goes under the seat in front of me.

1. Walk the pup to make sure he is fully disarmed before heading to the airport.

2. Offer up a little peanut butter laced with a doggy downer so that the pooch is mellow and chillin' before he is folded up like an origami crane into his carrier.

3. Fold up pup like an origami crane and stuff into said carrier.

4. Wrestle all your bags and purse to taxi while keeping pup upright. (Note: Sheboygan scenario)

5. Wrestle all bags out of taxi and into airport while keeping pup upright.

6. Try to check in at kiosk and once kiosk tells you to "See Agent", then try to find someone who actually wants to help you. They usually tell you to check in at the kiosk with a great deal of annoyance in their voice.

7. Hoist pup in carrier.....while keeping tell agent you CAN'T check in at the kiosk because you have a pet.

8. Once the agent has rolled their eyes and let out a large sigh because they actually have to DO SOMETHING, you try to act cheerful and polite.

9. Pull out documents for pet travel. This would be the Health Certificate that all airlines require for your pet. You must get one within 10 days of travel. Here is the breakdown of fees to acquire one from your vet:

$55 office visit
+$45 Health Certificate
$100 for a piece of paper

10. Agent asks for your ID.

11. Agent asks how you would like to pay for your pet to travel.

12. Agent takes payment and issues pet a boarding pass, along with yours.

13. Agent never asks to see the FREAKIN' HEALTH CERTIFICATE!!!
*Note to self: White out recent health certificate and forge all future ones. (F-ers!)

14. With any luck, your one big bag has been taken and you have only your dog and your purse to now wrestle with....but if you are flying DELTA like I am tomorrow, you must now drag your beastly bag over into ANOTHER line so that you can hand it off to someone who will throw it in a pile to be screened. I love this conversation.

"Is this your bag?"
"No, I love to randomly grab other peoples bags so I can stand in this line again and again."
"Has anyone asked you to carry anything today?"
"Yes, 8 packages containing cocaine, but as you can see, my hands are already full, so I only could fit 3 in my bag. Can I go now?"
"Is your bag unlocked?"
"Its a duffle bag, does it look unlocked genius?"

15. Once bag is dropped off for the scanning, its off to security. Good times!

16. Find the line without the dad struggling to close the stroller and the mom trying to wrangle the 3 children.

17. Grab several grey trays.

18. Tray 1 - Shoes

19. Tray 2 - laptop

20. Tray 3 - Coat....for some reason coat and shoes are not allowed to snuggle in together. I think its discrimination against the shoes.

21. Unload dog from carrier and try to catch him before he makes a b-line for the food court.

22. Stand like an idiot in socks, holding the pup and trying to keep both boarding passes and your ID available for viewing.

23. Walk through scanner.

24. Dern. Dogs tags set off scanner.

25. Remove dogs tags.

26. Go through scanner again.

27. Phew!

28. Refold dog back into carrier.

29. Return laptop to bag.

30. Put shoes back on and try to play off that there was a big hole in your sock.

31. Grab all bags, coat and dog. Try to get around the dad that is now wrestling to open the stroller on the other side.

32. Do not run over 3 kids mom is still trying to wrangle, although secretly you want to.

33. Finally get to the gate and realize that you are now sweating.

34. After waiting for a few hours, its time to board.

35. As people line up to board, try not to get mad that they are pushing by you and smacking your dogs carrier with their luggage. Completely oblivious to the fact that its not all about them.

36. Board plane.

37. Flight attendant may or may not realize you have a pet. If they do, dog gets a "Aw! How cute!"

38. Get to seat. Throw purse in overhead compartment.

39. Scrunch up your face as you realize the seat area below is a lot smaller than the measurements they posted on their website.

40. Turn dog carrier sideways and then shove with foot to "make it fit".

41. Give empathetic look to pup.

42. During flight, skillfully pull out carrier and offer dog water and food that you have packed.

43. At end of flight deplane as another flight attendant coos "Oh! Look! How cute!"

44. Wrestle carrier and purse off plane and down to baggage claim.

45. Retrieve checked luggage, if it actually made it and its not in Sheboygan.

46. Depart airport.

Now. I realize this is quite detailed and it needed to be because......WHAT DID I GET FOR MY PET FEE? A flight attendant coo? Really? $200+ to hear a flight attendant tell me how adorable I already know my pet is? Is this some self esteem fee for those people who may not actually realize their pet is cute? Its not for food, cuz I brought my own. Its not for water cuz I brought my own. Is it because I used one of my carry on bag allowances for my dog? Wait. Let me get this straight. I can carry on two bags for free if there is nothing live in them, but if I decide to put something live in them, they are going to charge me?

They don't touch my dog. They don't feed my dog. They don't walk my dog. They certainly don't handle my dog at all AND i'm giving up a carry on for my dog, but they are charging ME! Can SOMEONE please explain this to me? This falls under one of those moments where you wish you qualified for ignorance is bliss. But because my IQ is actually 3 digits instead of 2, it infuriates me to no end.

I think I'll call the airlines and tell them I'm going to stop showering for 30 days before my flights and if they want me to shower, it'll cost them $200. Who am I kidding. I can't stand myself after 2 days. Hence the reason I never go camping.

I wish I had a leg to stand on with this one, but I don't. Its my hassle to deal with if I actually want to bring the pup on a trip. I just hope the rumors I hear about the airlines charging for other things, like using the bathrooms aren't true. There will be a whole new use for those airsick bags and I seriously doubt I'll hear one single flight attendant coo "Oh! How cute!" when I hand them a full one.

Take that you F-ers.

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