Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Flying with Cats

On this last trip, we had some very eventful flights to and from Las Vegas, and I thought I'd share a funny story. This info might even come in handy for a few of you.

First on our flight from Las Vegas to New York, Anthony and I took our assigned seats on the plane before take-off and were getting comfortable with our books and magazines when I felt a tap on my shoulder. I look back at this young girl sitting behind me, and she leans in and asks, "Are you allergic to cats?" I'm surprised by her question, because I thought it was an odd question, AND I am in fact allergic to cats. I tell her "yes" and she says, "Oh." "Why do you ask?" I say. She says, "There's a cat under your seat." I laugh, thinking she's joking or something, and then I look under my seat and there's a cat staring back at me.

Suddenly, the people around us are alerted to the presence of a cat, and everyone starts freaking out, complaining, and demanding to be moved away from the cat. As it turned out, none of these people were allergic to cats, they just don't "like cats." Nearly everyone in and around the "cat" row were adamant about being moved. None of these people knew each other, I think they just heard one person complain about sitting by the cat, and it made them all want to move. The flight was full, so it turned into a big ordeal as the flight attendant tried to find people who were willing to sit by the cat, and I started to feel bad for Cat Girl because she kept apologizing over and over to everyone and no one was saying, "don't worry about it," or "that's OK," instead, they were all rolling their eyes and giving her dirty looks.

So, when Cat Girl very sweetly notified the flight attendant that I am in fact allergic to the cat under my chair and should probably be moved, I very sweetly replied, "That's OK. I just took a Zertec and I should be OK." (In truth, even sitting by someone who owns a cat gives me allergies, which could be any number of people on the flight, so there wasn't much point in moving--I always get allergies on planes, among other cramped public locations, and make a point of taking a Zertec in these instances). Anyway, the flight attendant (who had found new seats for all the complaining, non-allergic, passengers with such concern and politeness) turned to me with her hands on her hips and said in a very reprimanding tone, "Next time you book a flight with Jet Blue, you need to notify us that you are allergic to cats." I sort of laughed, because that was ridiculous, and I said, "I wouldn't have thought to do so--I've never seen a cat on a plane before." (I thought pets flew in some "pet area" of the plane, not under the seats of passengers) She replied in the same tone, "We don't discriminate against pets. Next time, notify us that you are allergic to cats." Then she walked away.

Now, at this point, I'm still kind-of giggly because the entire situation seemed ridiculous, so my reply was pretty much a giggle. But if I had been in a logical state of mind, I would have pointed out to the bitter flight attendant that she didn't reprimand any of the "complaining" passengers for not notifying Jet Blue that they didn't want to sit by a cat on the flight. And if I had been part of the rude, angry mob, she probably would have kissed my butt like she did theirs, but since I was polite and accommodating, she felt comfortable taking issue with the fact that I should have known a cat might be under my seat. Furthermore, nowhere on Jet Blue's website, when we were booking the flight, did it say that you might be flying with a cat, or allow you the option of selecting a hypo-allergenic seat.

Anyway, I know Cat Girl was relieved that I didn't make a scene. She even shared my giggle, and inquired after my allergenic state from time to time (which made me feel like I had to hold in my sneezes and blow my nose discretely).

As we were leaving, I did have the sense to ask the same flight attendant how I would go about notifying Jet Blue that I'm allergic to cats during the booking process. She was caught off guard by my question, and then said, "Just call them." She sounded very unsure.


TimW8 said...

That reminds me. What has four legs whiskers and goes round and round for hours?

A cat in a dryer.

Sherod loves cats. He loves to hurt them. Ask him he'll tell ya.

Markie23 said...

They don't discriminate against pets?? What if your pet was a rat, or an iguana, or a snake? What if Uncle Sam wanted to bring an emu on board... would they discriminate then? Huh?

Amy Thurston said...

I've had it with these *@#$* snakes on this @*&$@ plane!

Erin Beck said...

Thats why i only drive. You will never ever find a cat under my seat, just squashed all over my tires. The only good cats are dead cats. Sorry cat people

Emily said...

I can't get over the fact that there was a cat on your plane! I thought for sure the cat girl was just smuggling it. Is this something new? What a funny, crazy story!

Amanda said...

I can come up with all kinds of different letters you could send to the airline about this. What a crazy thing to happen! It's more like discrimination against people who are allergic to cats.
You could take a poll of how many people have flown with a cat and include that in the letter's subject matter. Come on!

Memzy said...

Ask Amanda to write you a letter and maybe you'll get a free flight out of it.

NYC looked awesome!

Cord is a hawtie. Doyee. Go double digits!

Katie or Tom said...

That cat looked pissed. You can tell by his blotchy coloring, and his confrontational position, that he did not want all that attention drawn to him. It is the same when you know your hair is all messed up and you have no makeup and your pretty sure you have a giant zit about to burst, but not sure because you haven't looked in the mirror the whole day, then suddenly you are forced to be the center of attention. I have been there my friend.