We may disagree on the state of a person’s well-being if they need a 70-lb potbelly pig for comfort. But, the fact is emotional support animal (ESA) is a fact of life for some. And, we all have to put up with it or suffer through it.

Perhaps nowhere is ESA more of an issue than air travel. With your ticketed seat, the option of moving further away inside an aircraft cabin, is just not available. Everyone is stressed enough in a confined space. We don’t really want to deal with someone else’s ESA quacking duck.

Every airline has its own ESA policy. They are all similar. Passengers traveling with ESA need to provide ESA documentation.

  • An ESA travel letter, issued by medical doctor or mental health professional.
  • Stating the person has a mental or emotional disability, and is under professional care.
  • The person needs an ESA to accompanying air travel.
  • The number and type of ESA.

Individual airline may have additional requirement. American Airlines and United Airlines require a 48-hour advance showing of the ESA documentation. Others have rules governing where the ESA should be placed.

What about other passengers’ rights? Sorry. You don’t have much. Your inconvenience or even your allergy are not valid reason to deny ESA access.

One problem is that ESA is treated the same as service animals. Perhaps Congress or FAA should set stricter guidelines and distinguish ESA from service animal. Ultimately, there is probably no perfect solution. You just have to hope that ESA is providing comfort somewhere else. It certainly is not supporting your emotional well-being.

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The recent sickening incident of United Airlines (UA) injuring and then forcibly dragging an involuntarily bumped passenger off the plane, speaks volumes about the corporate culture at UA. True to form, the CEO of United Airlines soon proved beyond any doubt the toxic culture he created and the stupidity of the man in charge.

These days everyone has a smart phone with a camera. In no time, the video of the entire horrid episode is available for the whole world to see – how United Airlines treated its passenger. CEO of United Airlines, Oscar Munoz, sent an email to UA employees, further inflamed the outrage. Just like the video, didn’t Mr. Munoz think the email would also get out for the whole world to see?

Mr. Munoz supported the actions. “Our employees followed established procedures for dealing with situations like this.” You mean established procedures like forcibly dragging a passenger off the plane? He commended their actions. “I want to commend you for continuing to go above and beyond” I think the world would agree injuring and dragging a passenger off the plane is indeed going WAY above and beyond.

The employees of UA would not have acted this way without the CEO establishing a belligerent culture at the company. The employees of UA would not have acted this way without explicit or tacit approval from corporate higher-up. Mr. Munoz also said “we are taking a close look… Treating our customers…with respect and dignity is at the core of who we are.” No, apparently, treating your customers with respect and dignity is NOT your core value. And, dude, as for your close look, look no further than in the mirror. You, Mr. Munoz, are the problem.

Whatever United Airlines and this CEO thought they would gain (about getting 4 staff to their next flight), pales into such insignificance when compared to the bad publicity and damage to their brand. Apparently, damaging to the UA brand is no big deal for this CEO. The victim has already lawyered up. This will end up in court, and costing UA millions. Is the United Airlines Board of Directors watching the news? There is an idiot running your corporation. Do the one and only defined duty of any board – show the CEO the door.

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flight treats

September 8, 2015

I love traveling so much. While eating has never been my favorite thing, I feel like since having this blog I’ve tried so many more food choices that I’m quite proud of myself. When I was younger and I flew with my parents (say from Massachusetts for Florida), we got food on the planes, with real silverware … can you imagine?!? Well, now you’re lucky if you get peanuts (if you’re flying Southwest).

Flying international, however, is a whole other story … which I absolutely love so much! You even still get real silverware! My favorite thing is that each airline’s meals are generally a pretty good reflection of the types of food that you can eat while in that country, even if the food off the plane tastes even better!

Take a look at some of the delicious flight meals I tried over the summer while I flew to Taiwan (with a layover in Korea), Singapore, and Malaysia.

A flight treats photo adventure:

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