What to do with a barking dog on a plane…

I was on a Chicago to Phoenix flight late Saturday and encountered what has to be one of the most annoying things I’ve ever seen on a plane – a dog barking.

Now, to start off, I don’t know whether this was a service animal or not, however my initial assumption in looking at how the dog was handled and the passengers (it was a couple) who it belonged to make me believe it was not. After take-off and once gaining altitude, the small dog began to whimper and bark…constantly. It did this for the first hour of the flight at least and there were several passengers clearly annoyed by the situation. Folks were eyeing the passengers who owned the dog looking for them to do something, however they just continued to read their newspaper as if nothing was happening.

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I had my Bose noise canceling headphones on at the time, but even with those I could still hear the puppy. I had tweeted US Airways for guidance, however they just kept referring me to the flight attendants, who weren’t too helpful at the situation. I asked for a policy on if something could be done, however the Twitter team was very vague on what action could be taken. After dinner service, and now having a dog’s barking stuck in my head, I noticed that the annoying sound had stopped. Perhaps the dog went to bed? I’m not a dog owner (or lover, to be honest), so I don’t know how they work, or what makes them quiet down. In any event, the dog eventually went silent – well, except for the occasional chirp.

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So, this brings up a question I’d like to pose for everyone – what do you do when an animal on a plane is barking or disturbing you? As a note to everyone, this is by no means an offense to those with service animals. To be frank, those animals are usually trained to be well behaved. What I’m referring to is personally owned pets. Would you say something to the flight attendant? Would you say something to the pet owner? What’s your “protocol” for dealing with this type of annoying situation?

For reference, here is US Airway’s policy for pets onboard.

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  1. Aaron says

    Jamie. As a dog lover and owner and flight attendant for US I am sorry the puppy annoyed you. I do think the owners should have done SOMETHING to placate the pooch. Maybe putting a hand in to give the pup some comfort. Remember, animals are more sensitive to their surroundings than us humans. Their ear drums are much more sensitive to pressure changes and audible stimulation than is humans. What I wold have done is ask if there were something their canine companion needed. Water. A hug. Anything. Short of that, I REALLY do not know what the fas could have done. Sometimes we humans have to just suck .it up. You know, like that crying SCREAMING AT THE TOO OF THEIR LUNGS infant. For 6 hours. All the way to Seattle! Personally, I prefer animal yelps to screaming infants any day of the week.

  2. Aaron says

    Ahhhhh auto correct!!!!
    Should have been “us humans and TOP OF THEIR LUNGS”
    (What can I say. I’m an iPhone newbie)

  3. says

    I’m with Aaron. I’ve flown an average of 250K a year for the last 15 years and I’ve never encountered a dog barking for a long period of time. I do, however, encounter babies that scream at the top of their lungs for hours at a time many times a year… I’ve also encountered loud drunk people, people with their yellow feet on the bulkhead, people screaming on the phone all the way to the runway etc etc etc..

    I don’t know what you expect US twitter team to do? Throw the dog and owners off the plane? If it’s not a service dog, they have probably paid as much as you to have the dog with them and have the right to be there. It happens so rare (like I said, it has never happened to me) that I would move on..

    Your friend and avid dog lover Tommy D 😉

  4. sigs99 says

    I did not believe that animal belong on an air plane except for actual service animals. Not only can they be annoying they play havoc for people like me with animal allergies.

  5. Suzanne says

    Actually, Aaron, “we humans” was correct.

    But on the subject of the dog, I would either have asked the fa to speak to the owners to see if they could comfort their dog to quiet him/her, or gone over to the couple and asked them the same thing myself, nonconfrontationally. If they had tried with no results, then noise-canceling headphones seem pretty much the only option. Lucky you had them for a short flight.

  6. E Grey says

    Well, I’m a person with a whining barking 12 week old puppy on a plane this past weekend. I was bringing the puppy back home with me…and was told most puppies go to sleep in the carrier. My puppy did not…once the seatbelt lights were turned off, I took him out of the carrier and held him. He was quiet until I had to return him to carrier for landing. The lady behind me was clearly disgusted (nasty) she recognized I had an animal on board. At landing, I apologized to the unpleasant lady who had no ability to be understanding. I have flown many times with disturbances, drunk stinking passenger who wanted to ly in my lap, screaming kids, anxious ones assuring all the plane would crash, and unpleasant flight attendant on occasion. I have only once been created a disturbance unintentionally to get my bundle of fur home half way across the country. I don’t plan to fly with him again, but I suspect as we work on crate training if I did, he would do just fine..,,,and for those who need to find something to be negative and complain about, please thank me for your opportunity..,… BTW, I have dozen of photographs of people waiting for flights enjoying my new little puppy. Without puppy, I would not have had such enjoyment of meeting so many people in one day and will likely to stay connected with a few of them indefinitely….puppy was a unintentional therapy pup in the airport…..and yes, I paid for his travels.

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