Comment Of The Day (1): “A Cruel And Stupid Flight Attendant, A Dead Puppy, And A Plane Full Of Sheep”

Choosing the best among so many excellent comments on this topics was nigh impossible. I chose two in the end, beginning with Michael West’s systemic analysis that also opens several ethics issues that could justify separate posts on their own. The second COTD, coming up forthwith, addresses a completely different aspect of the story.

Here is Michael West’s Comment of the Day on the post, A Cruel And Stupid Flight Attendant, A Dead Puppy, And A Plane Full Of Sheep”

1) Airlines have clearly delineated standards for carry-on sizes. Enforcement of these sizes has been perennially neglected to where passengers routinely carry noticeably larger than permitted carry-on bags. This is marginal rule breaking.

2) No doubt this puppy was in such a carry-on that would never have been permitted if rules were enforced…NOR EVER EVEN ATTEMPTED if the owners knew that rules were enforced. But the larger culture has acquiesced to the flouting of a “no big deal” rule.

3) People assume no one else cares that there’s an animal on board with all the other passengers. This is an unmannerly assumption to make about everyone else in a cramped airplane. It’s barely tolerable for parents of young children to take flights who know their children are going to bawl and scream all flight long. But, hey, humans outrank animals, so we tolerate THAT imposition. Frankly, to presume an entire plane is cool with animals in the main cabin is rudely presumptuous.

4) Airlines should never have permitted “comfort animals”…but now that that barn door is open, it’s clear that they need to be much more strict about what animals are permitted. They must have strict size limits, like maybe half the weight of an average 2 year old. They must have species limits. There should be a required “note from a doctor.”

5) This will cause controversy, but: Humans should never have become so neurotic that they need “comfort animals”. Yes, our pets are solid members of our families, but no, we shouldn’t hang all our hopes, fears, neuroses, character flaws, disorders and fetishes on them. The level we’ve raised our pets to in our psychological lives is a disease that afflicts our culture. My gut says it’s symptomatic of our general retreat from our fellow man combined with years of disappointment in our fellow man and selves.

6) We’ve become unquestioning sheep in the face of any authority.


This fiasco would never have materialized if a whole lot of the system wasn’t already broken before all the actors in this episode coalesced into the perfect storm.


3 thoughts on “Comment Of The Day (1): “A Cruel And Stupid Flight Attendant, A Dead Puppy, And A Plane Full Of Sheep”

  1. Well deserved COTD. I wanted to comment on one item in 4), There should be a required “note from a doctor.”

    In fact, there is a required note from a doctor. United Airlines actually requires a note from a medical or mental health professional, a passenger confirmation of liability and animal behavior form, and a veterinary health form completed by a licensed veterinarian. There are multiple on line services offering ESA letters. The client tells them they need an emotional support animal, a mental health professional contacts them by phone for an “evaluation”, and for a fee a letter is provided.

    In my opinion, the mental health provider involved is committing malpractice. I doubt that anyone who is willing to pay the fee has ever been turned down for a letter. The real motivation for these sites can be found in the blurb one uses on their main page, “No More Unfair Pet Deposits, Avoid Breed and Size Restrictions, No More Unfair Airline Fees”. Nothing about emotional support but plenty about getting away with something and escaping accountability. It is a scam to get pets into no pets allowed housing and be able to fly with them without paying extra.

    I am a mental health professional and I have no problem with a person getting a letter saying they would benefit from an emotional support animal if that person has been properly evaluated to determine what disabilities they have and what type of support they actually need. A proper mental health evaluation cannot be accomplished by a phone call; it requires multiple face to face visits.

    • Good observation. But I still stick with my general notion that a large number of people who claim to need comfort animals don’t and a large number of Americans who need comfort animals are an indicator of deeper societal maladies.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.