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.