We're off to Michigan to attend my grand daughter's graduation from high school but this time we are flying! I have always driven to whatever destination we selected but between my wife's febermyology and my Parkinson's issues, driving for extended hours is impossible.
My sister helped purchase tickets and the only remaining hurdle is "The Dog". We have a Cavapoo, and for those not familiar with special breeds it is a cross between a King Charles cavalier and a toy poodle. He is a cute little shit with curly hair and weighs in at a whopping 16 pounds. He is a great traveler in the car but untested on aircraft.
Knowing the airline would require a carrying case for Mr Charlie I went to our local pet store and purchased an approved airline travel case, one that would accommodate our killer trained lap dog. Feeling smug in my purchase until the day before our departure, which as Memorial Day, I had second thoughts and decided to call the airlines to double check the proper size needed to fit under the seat in front of me. Giving the representative the dimensions of my pet's temporary accommodations and our flight number, which is important because the seats are different for each type of aircraft, she reported that it was to high. For our flight the maximum height for under the seat storage is 9 inches. After the initial shock I promptly questioned the airline's logic in allowing carry on animals that would fit in 9 inches. Before she could answer I responded in a kidding manor, "I guess I'll have to cut his legs off!", I did not receive a chuckle or a negative response.
Knowing she did not have control over the design of an aircraft, I proceeded to thank her and let panic set in. I purchased the carrier from a local pet store, which I had doubts would be open on a holiday, but grabbed the portable dog house and headed off to the pet store.
Lucky for me it was open but unlucky because I didn't have a receipt, which I explained and said I just wanted to exchange it for a smaller one. Getting the go-ahead from a manager I headed off to the appropriate isle only to discover limited options. The only one to fit the bill was 9 inches high, OK, 19 inches long and 11 inches wide. It was going to be like fitting Dolly Parton into a training bra!
Uncooperative and disgruntled, charlie did fit into the carried, much like a 200 pound woman fits into a size to small spandex jump suit. After several attempts at zipping up the opening, without success, I decided to allow his head to project, which was problematic since he could use his front paws to unzip and escape from his confinement.
In order to take a carry-on pet and cram it under the seat will cost $125 and a signed promise to keep it caged during the flight. Will rules were meant to be bent so I followed only those rules absolutely necessary to remain on the aircraft.
Only one of the flight attendants paid any attention to Charlie's head sticking out and requested I zip it up, to which I smiled and answered "yes" only to ignore the request. I couldn't, in good conscious, jam into nine inches, besides he would crawl out and I would have a dog on the loose, so I placed him between my legs so I could pet his head to keep him calm.
Just prior to landing the attendants passed through the cabin and the previous gate-keeper reminded me to zip up the case, to which I responded with a smile and nodded yes before ignoring her warning.
As not to bore you with other details I will finish the story by saying Charlie was very happy when we reached my sister's condo so he could form a river flowing from the nearest tree, I swore I saw a smile of relief flash across his face