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US Airways Flight Diverted After Dog Bites Passenger, Crew

December 8, 2010 | Posted in: Pets,Tips and Tricks,US Airways | 0 comments

dog bite dulles airport

Did you hear the story about the dog with “jet rage”? It kind of reminded me of that angry JetBlue flight attendant who cursed out passengers and eventually left the aircraft via the emergency slide. But at least he didn’t bite anyone.

Mandy, a 12 pound Manchester terrier did bite. She bit a passenger and crew member and ran up and down the aisle of a US Airway Newark to Phoenix flight, barking all the way. The plane had to make an emergency landing in Pittsburgh (a precautionary measure – no one was badly hurt).

What happened? Mandy’s owner – an 89-year old woman from New Jersey – let Mandy out of her cage.

Big mistake. You are not allowed to let an animal out of its cage on a plane. Little Mandy showed us why!

That’s just one of things you’ll learn in my new article called “Pet Travel Tips for the Holidays“. It’s handy if you’re bringing Sparky home for Christmas, and it’s handy anytime you want to travel with your best friend. There’s a fun video in the article too featuring yours truly and a Basset hound named Clementine.

A note of caution: as I point out in the article, not all animals are good travelers, and some cats and dogs might be better left at home. Like Mandy.

Escapee “Bite Dog” Recaptured at Dulles Airport

April 23, 2010 | Posted in: Pets,Travel Safety | 0 comments

dog bite dulles airport

Whew – this was a story that needed a good ending, and there is one.

It seems a dog that works with the Norwegian Armed Forces Military Police landed at Washington Dulles Airport with his handler – he was in the U.S. for “additional training” – when he somehow got out of his crate Wed. night and took off outside. And “outside” is a pretty big place at Dulles which has 12,000 acres.

Worse, the dog – a young Doberman – was described by his handler in these chilling terms: “He does bite work.”

Washington’s WTOP TV is reporting that he was finally found and reunited with his military escort, but there is no description of how it happened – did they use a net? Perhaps the promise of a treat? Or a heartfelt, “nice doggie”? I do not know.

Fortunately, there was no mention of any injuries, to hound or handler.

Stranded Animals: Canceled Europe Flights Delay Pets

April 21, 2010 | Posted in: Delays,Europe,News,Pets | 1 comment

stranded dogs canceled europe flights delays pets

Of course, the stranded human passengers have been uppermost in our minds in recent days – but a sea of pets and other creatures have also been affected by the airline industry’s volcanic ash crisis. 

Think of average travelers, separated by their cats and dogs; think of cargo shippers, that transport more exotic creatures; think of breeders, delivering pups.

Those animals and more sat out the crisis, just like their human counterparts.

Let’s meet a few of them (as described in the Wall St. Journal):

  • A Slovenia resident drove 9-and-a-half hours over the Alps, to pick up his Basenji dog who was stranded in Germany. He said his pup was quite thin, “like a hyena during a summer drought in the African Savannah.”
  •  The Frankfurt airport had several stranded visitors, including a turtle, a gecko and some snakes; the gecko and turtle were “not particularly demanding,” said an airport employee,  but no word on the snakes.
  • Also in Frankfurt, two horses that were supposed to go to New York City were enjoying the good life, according to a Lufthansa rep: “We transported them to the countryside so they could roam around.”
  • A Germany-based freight company was stuck with a lion it was trying to ship to a European zoo; the company’s manager said, “It’s a big disaster.” I just hope that doesn’t mean a shipment of zebras has gone missing…

Cat Roams 1,300 Miles, Gets Free Airline Flight Home

April 19, 2010 | Posted in: Airline News,Ask Rick,Pets | 0 comments

cat free airline flight

Okay, enough with the distressing volcano-canceling-flights news; time for a good animal story.

This one’s about a cat named Charles (Charles?) who traveled 1,300 miles from his home in New Mexico, and wound up in…Chicago. No one knows how, let alone why.

Fortunately for the cat, he’d been micro-chipped by his owner – who was out of town when Charles put on his traveling shoes and boogied. Good thing, since Charles wound up on death row in a Chicago shelter, until the microchip was discovered. All looked good for Charles – except – his owner couldn’t afford to fly him home.

Lucky Charles – a New Mexico woman who is flying to Chicago this week for a wedding, heard about the cat’s plight, and agreed to take him home with her. American Airlines is springing for Charles’ airfare.

I just hope Charles is grateful. On the other hand, he is a cat…

Airline On-Time Performance Feb. Report Card: “C-”

April 8, 2010 | Posted in: Airfare News,Airline News,Delays,DOT,List,Pets | 0 comments

airline on time performance

The latest figures are out on airline performance from the federal Bureau of Transportation Statistics (BTS), and it wasn’t such a good month, but weather played a part.

Here’s the scoop:

On-Time Performance: Airlines reported an overall on-time arrival rate of slightly more than 74% – worse than January, and substantially worse than February 2009 (blame it on some pretty major snowstorms) – not great

Baggage: There were 4.01 reports of “mishandled” bags per 1,000 passengers in February, an improvement over January – not bad

Pets: There were 3 pet deaths in February – not good.

Keep reading to see the Best and Worst airports for on-time performances…

Airline On-Time Performance Feb. Report Card: “C-”

Flying Pets Quiz: Airline Travel Goes to the Dogs/Cats

April 8, 2010 | Posted in: Airfare News,Airline News,Ask Rick,Pets | 0 comments

flying pets quiz airline travel dogs cats

Ever take your dog or cat on a plane?

Many do – in fact, some folks wouldn’t consider it a vacation without their furry friends. It would be like leaving the kids at home. Well, kind of. 

But how much do you really know about traveling with pets?

Take our pop quiz (or would that be…pup quiz?). Answers at the end.

Flying Pets Quiz – True/False

1. My mutt will be just fine once I slip him a doggy downer. T/F

2. My hamster Weensy enjoys traveling with me in the United cabin. T/F

3. My 30 lb cat Chubs is too big, so he’ll travel in Southwest’s baggage hold. T/F

4. Delta says my big boxer Buster can’t travel with me in July. T/F

5. That flight attendant is just being a jerk, telling me Fifi can’t sit on my lap. T/F

6. My service dog Gallant is a 60 lb Lab, so he has to go in baggage. T/F

7. My puppy Beauty is better behaved than most of the kids on the plane. T/F

Keep reading for the answers…

Flying Pets Quiz: Airline Travel Goes to the Dogs/Cats

Jacksonville Airport Donates Shrubs for Hungry Zoo Animals

March 31, 2010 | Posted in: Airfare News,Pets | 0 comments

jacksonville airport zoo animals

Here’s an airport story you don’t see every day.

It seems the facility in Jacksonville, Florida has a lot of left over greenery – including tree clippings, shrubs and such – from their regular gardening maintenance.

At the same time, the Jacksonville Zoo was looking for more “natural vegetation” to perk up the diets of their big mammals.

Light bulbs go off – and, voila – a partnership is born.

Now the giraffes, elephants, okapis and big apes are happily eating their greens – allowing mothers to point to them as fine role models for their candy-swilling tots.

I love a happy ending, don’t you? Hat tip to Harriet Baskas at Stuck at the Airport.

Save the Endangered Airplane Animals – Frontier’s Wildlife

March 31, 2010 | Posted in: ABC Column,Airfare News,Airline News,Pets | 2 comments

In my latest weekly column for ABCNews.com, I tackle the weighty issue of what might happen to Frontier Airlines animals if owner Republic decides to revamp branding.

I’m talking about those wildlife photos that grace the tails of Frontier’s aircraft: you know, Larry the Lynx, Rudy the Raccoon, Grizwald the Bear and more (yes, those are their names – it says so right on Frontier’s website).

If you read the column, here are a few things you’ll learn:

  • Qantas’ kangaroo once had wings
  • Three “animals” made the list of Top Advertising Icons of the Century: Tony the Tiger, the Energizer Bunny, and Elsie the Cow
  • A film parody shows “Hitler” ranting in support of Frontier’s wildlife: “Griz is going to tear someone a new one!”

Here’s how I end the column:

“For Flip and his associates, I hope it all works out. Otherwise, they’ll be headed to the Old Icons Retirement Home, where they can sit on the porch with Speedy Alka-Seltzer, the Frito Bandito, Mr. Whipple, and the Taco Bell Chihuahua – and reminisce about the days gone by.” –Rick Seaney, ABCNews.com, 3-31-10

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