Incident involving pet on board and allergy

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  • Cheeryguy

    This has all the hallmarks of ambulance chasing style litigation.


    Interesting replies from everyone.

    As I said, I believe the dog was a pet carried by its owner and not a working dog. But that’s irrelevant as Aegean allow pets on board, not just working dogs. Whether the allergy sufferer was aware of this is another story, although they should have checked first given their condition.

    The question,as I see it, is whether it would have been prudent for the airline to move the passenger as far away from the dog as possible to minimize risk given that Business was empty. The passenger, I believe, already had an exit seat in the middle of the aircraft so he wouldn’t have been looking for extra legroom and the seating in row 1 was identical to economy. There were no other passengers in J class so he wouldn’t have received business service anyway.

    As a lawyer I can see that the airline, from what I know of the facts, is not liable. From a customer service perspective however, it appears it was very poorly handled, especially after the passenger became ill. An ill passenger is an ill passenger.

    I would be surprised if the passenger commenced legal proceedings so I don’t think it’s ambulance chasing, but rather an example of poor customer service from a full service airline, who, from my experience, are normally very good in that respect.


    Why was it poorly handled Alex. The outcome appears to have been totally predictable.

    The airline made it clear at the outset that they wouldn’t move the passenger into business class. That was a choice the passenger made.

    Also if the dog was at the back and the passenger in row 3 then I doubt moving 2 rows forward would have made the slightest difference.

    I don’t see any evidence of poor customer service. Seems to me the responsibility is 100% with the passenger and any claim would (rightly) be laughed out of court. Although the passenger is so sensitive to dogs that I wouldn’t risk a court appearance in case someone there had pets.


    Have to say I think he was lucky to have been upgrade to Business and when he was, can’t see the difference 3 to 1 would have made.

    It is just me or does it sound like someone trying it on???

    1 user thanked author for this post.


    Thanks everyone for your input. You’ve all raised interesting and valid points. i’ll enquire as to what the outcome was and revert,


    Can you imagine the number of passengers claiming allergy to whatever (mink coats or alpaca scarves for example) if that was all that is needed to upgrade?

    As to homeopathy I’m sure David Gordon is correct, but serially diluted dog hair should have been tried – I’ve found that my homeopathic food work well when my wife needs to slim!


    Well, my experience was a bit more surprising I think. I was traveling with my family, and our cat, and 10 minutes prior to boarding, I was paged to the airlines check in desk. I was told that a woman on our flight was allergic to cats, and had presented a letter from her MD saying she could not fly near any cats. She did not have a mask, or was taking any anti-allergy medications.

    The airline politely let me know that the cat and I would be accommodated on a later flight (3 hours later) due to the other passengers. The airline rep was very sorry about the situation, but since the other passenger presented medical documentation of her allergy, there was nothing they could do.

    We were not compensated for the delay and to be honest, my family was not entirely pleased with the situation. The airline did not try to get the passenger to sit in the very front or very rear of the plane, or separate us since the allergic passenger was adamant that they could not be on a plane with a cat.


    I can’t help but think that the person being delayed in that situation, eric777, should be the person with the problem. Especially if (as I suspect is the case) you had prebooked passage with your cat, and the allergic passenger didn’t notify the airline in advance, but rather turned up on the day with the medical certificate. But of course, I am only speculating!


    I agree Ian, had I been in Eric’s position I would not have been happy either.

    With the apparent increase in allergies these days I do think there is a debate to be had around whether pets (not working animals) should be carried in the cabin. However that’s another story.

    I don’t think it’s just a question of that flight either – some passengers appear highly allergic if they can’t be within a plane’s length of an animal – how do we know there hasn’t been a pet on an inward flight etc? As we know planes are not cleaned very well these days between flights (if at all).


    Its not only passengers, playing the game… VS used to announce due to a passenger(s) with a nut allergy, no nuts are being served on “todays flight”. This announcement became very standard, until nuts were withdrawn altogether.


    I’m actually surprised that animals are allowed on board at all. But it now explains an incident that happened at Schipol.

    Many moons ago I commented on the bizarre sight in the casino bar of a glamorous French lady with 2 “rat catchers” stuffed in her holdall.

    As me and my travelling companions laughed at the dogs heads popping through the zip, we couldn’t understand how she got through security.

    I now assume she was allowed through because she could carry them on board!

    And although I love animals, it actually makes me smile and sometimes I’ll do my Dr Doolittle, with them on trains and buses ,but I don’t think an aircraft cabin is the right environment for them. With the exception of working animals who are trained to interact with us in challenging environments.

    I’m also assuming the change in policy is so that airlines can save money on their heating bills, wherever possible by moving the animals up from the hold.

    However if that’s the airlines policy, Eric’s family, including his feline family member should have been allowed to fly first. They were not the one with the issue! You should name and shame Eric!

    I will also be controversial and say that people with allergies etc,,should take more responsibility for their own welfare!


    I think I’m the only one on here so far who has an allergy to dogs so I can guess how this passenger felt. I’m with the vast majority of people on here- moving the passenger three rows forward would not have made an iota of difference to the allergy. The passenger should have come equipped for the allergic reaction- which is plainly so severe that as an earlier poster pointed out, could have been generated by a dog on an inbound flight-I think the airline did all that is reasonably could. I’m also a litgation lawyer (in England) too, and I’d strongly advise the passenger not to bring proceedings he is most likely to lose.


    eric777, it sounds like you and your family were poorly treated. I’d say that no passenger has the right to demand a pet and accompanying passenger(s) be removed from a flight simply because they have an allergy. If that were the case, I’d suggest the allergic passenger be re-accomodated onto another flight.

    In the incident I refer to, the passenger made no such demands. Merely that maximum space be kept between him and the pet. His request for row 1 was only because the front cabin was empty and it would enable maximum separation. In the end there was an allergic reaction and the crew still didn’t move him.

    To suggest this was all done to score an upgrade to business class is wrong, I believe. I understand the passenger already had an extra legroom seat allocated which gave him more room than row 1 anyway.Nor would he have received business class service as the cabin was empty. The issue is that, in my opinion, the airline, particularly after the passenger became ill, put policy ahead of compassion and still didn’t place the sick passenger in row 1.

    I see this as an example, in my opinion, of very poor customer service.

    I’m not sure, but I don’t believe the passenger would be seeking any sort of serious compensation and wouldn’t be eligible for it anyway. However, he probably wouldn’t be in any rush to recommend Aegean given how it appears he was treated, especially after he fell ill.


    Is it only me who laughed when I read that all animals should be banned, except service dogs? Or am I wrong and service dogs are non-allergenic? 😉 :-))))

    But seriously, AlexUograde77, it does sound like we are all being terribly unsympathetic in your colleague’s case, as it must be truly awful if you suffer an allergy episode. But as has been said, time and time again, by at least two professionals on here, that’s me and Dr Gordon (Aye, Dr Finlay! I will let Canucklad explain!), there would have been no difference if your colleague had been moved to two rows ahead. And he should have had his meds with him, and taken them, traditional or otherwise.

    As for the Eric’s cat, I think that is outrageous that he was bumped to a later flight. Have you all seen this – totally off topic but great fun … On a dull Monday lunchtime ….

    As we have all said, what would happen on the return flight with no sign of any animal on board I am sure the dander would still be evident, so what would be done then? I think a lot of this is to do with people seeing an animal and shouting, I’m allergic, I’m allergic! Bump them I say, as they are the ones with the problem.

    My DH came back on a flight from the US sitting next to this chap and until they started chatting, and the man established the DH was a dog lover, my DH had no idea he was carrying two small dogs in a dog carrier at his feet. Of course, once the dog loving DH was aware that puppies were on board, they were brought out for secret cuddles as they were supposed to remain in their carrier for the whole flight!

    So I think it’s a bit of a placebo effect – if these people had not seen the animals would they even be aware or had any adverse effects?

    What about the security sniffer dogs at airports? They come into close proximity with people, I can’t imagine telling a security agent that you can’t be “sniffed out”, because you have allergies, would wash – at all!

    I think the airline did the best they could – we seem to live in a world where some expect and some demand that others take responsibility for them and their afflictions – what happened to grown up personal responsibility for oneself?

    But it’s been an interesting topic and it gives us all something to think about.

    If I can add something else, I hate the smell of stale smoke and I dread that I might have to sit next to someone who reeks of smoke as it makes me feel quite nauseous. But do I proclaim my dislike at boarding, no, of course not, I just have to accept it. Or on one occasion, a lady was sitting in front of us, and she must have been cooking curry all night, because the smell was quote overpowering. Thankfully it was a short domestic flight, but the smell permeated throughout the cabin. She was totally oblivious of course!

    So I think we all have to be tolerant of one another – and of course if you are ever lucky enough to sit next to Mrs P, you will enjoy the lovely delicate soft waft of whatever parfum is the choice of the day!


    Excellent point wrt sniffer dogs Papillion – or is it Janet ? 😉

    My dog, a very big dog but in a small (Highland) terrier body, being immensely curious, certainly knows when I have been near/touching another dog even the previous day. Someone with such extreme sensitivity, bordering on a dogs olfactory sense, should always be fully equipped with anti-histamines etc in order to function among the populace.

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