Stinky dog on a plane caused passengers to demand refunds

The issue of animals aboard a flight is one of constant push and pull — after many airlines started loosening their rules in 2019 to allow more passengers to bring their pets aboard flights as “emotional support animals,” a flurry of issues pushed both the U.S. Department of Transportation and individual airlines to tighten their policies and crack down on the practice once again.

Delta Air Lines  (DAL) – Get Free Report, United  (UAL) – Get Free Report and American Airlines  (AAL) – Get Free Report all currently allow only trained service dogs to travel inside the cabin.

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But other international airlines may have looser rules around passengers’ pets — in June 2023, a couple boarded their Singapore Airlines  (SINGF) – Get Free Report flight from Paris to Singapore when they discovered that a dog would be traveling on their neighbor’s lap.

Passengers traveling with pets can cause various issues on planes.


‘I’m not having this sitting next to us the whole trip’

The incident created a sensation after the New Zealand-based couple made a push to get a refund for the flight, describing a “drooling and farting” dog causing problems on their 13-hour flight.

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“I heard this noise – a heavy snorting,” Gill Press described to New Zealand news outlet Stuff. “I thought it was my husband’s phone, but we looked down and realized it was the dog breathing. I said ‘I’m not having this sitting next to us the whole trip.”

Passengers describes the problem in detail

Gill and Warren Press said that they were given the option of moving to some free seats at the back of the plane but, as they would lose out on the premium economy they had paid for, chose to sit there until they were later moved to some other premium economy seats that had previously been reserved for staff.

“[The traveler] couldn’t have the dog out in the aisle because they couldn’t get the trolleys through, so it had to come in further, which meant his head was under my husband’s feet,” Press continued. “My husband was in shorts, and was getting the dog’s saliva goo on his leg.”

After filing an incident report after getting home, Gill and Warren Press each received a voucher for SG$100 (approximately $73 USD) to spend with Singapore Airlines. 

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After trying to tell the airline that this was less than the difference between premium and regular economy, the Presses started getting louder about the experience — the “farting dog story” was soon picked up by Stuff and flew through social media as they pushed for a refund.

Singapore Airlines has not elaborated on whether the dog was a service one or a regular one that the airline made an exception for (the airline also banned bringing non-trained animals inside the cabin in April 2023) but said that it will always work to “re-seat customers within the same cabin where space permits” in situations where passengers were not informed of an animal traveling next to them prior to the flight.

“We didn’t receive the experience we paid for,” Press said.

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