Does flying poodle deserve a straight answer about his carrier?


Ed Zielinski isn’t a novice flier and neither is his 15-year-old poodle. This year alone, Zielinski, his wife, and their pet have made the flight between Dallas and Salt Lake City three times, and they know the drill. They pay a $125 pet carry-on fee, and the trio boards the plane.

Except the last time.

“The ticketing agent in Salt Lake City refused to ticket us, claiming the pet carrier was not large enough,” he says. “I asked her for a copy of the American Airlines pet policy. She refused to review the policy with me.”

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Zielinski says he’s flown with the same carrier numerous times, and without incident. But that didn’t seem to make a difference.

I’ll get to the rest of the story in a moment. In the meantime, here’s what Zielinski wants: A straight answer from American about its pet carrier policy. And he wants me to help him get it.

Apparently, this particular gate agent in Salt Lake City didn’t like being questioned by a customer. Not only did she tell him she “didn’t care” if previous agents had approved his carrier, but she also refused to help him, he says.

“I asked her for some type of device to measure the dog and carrier,” remembers Zielinski. “She refused. I also asked her to view our dog in the carrier. She refused.”

Now, that’s not the American way, is it?

But it gets worse …

She said the only way we could get ticketed on a later flight was to take a cab with our luggage to a pet store and buy the largest pet carrier we could get.

After considerable angst, $120 for the cab ride and a new pet carrier we returned to the Salt Lake City airport and requested to see the agent.

She was unavailable and we were told by another agent that as long as we purchased another pet carrier we could be ticketed. They didn’t look at it, measure it nor see our dog in it.

We finally got home with a new carrier essentially the same size as the one we had been using.

So the agents didn’t even bother to check the carrier and just waved them through. The way Zielinski sees it, an American ticket agent on a little power trip forced him to divert to the closest pet shop to buy a carrier he didn’t need.

We don’t know exactly how small — or large — his poodle was, but American’s requirements are clearly spelled out on its site. In addition, government rules apply to the transportation of animals in the cabin.

These rules are fairly unambiguous. So when Zielinski wrote a brief, polite email to American, asking it why he had to buy the same pet carrier again, he expected a reasonable answer. To underscore his point, he noted that he was a very frequent flier and an American shareholder.

It did him absolutely no good.

Here’s what he’d like to know: First, how can we be certain that our new pet carrier will be approved on future American flights?

“Also, is the approval or disapproval of a pet carrier a subjective decision at the whim of the American ticketing agent?” he asks. “Or are there objective guidelines to be followed, similar to those for baggage weight and size of carry-on bags?”

“For being a 2 million mile flier on American, I would hope to get some clarification on this issue instead of being ignored,” he says.

I agree. The airline shouldn’t be dismissive. But even if it did answer him, saying it has standards and that they are objective, I’m not sure how much good it would do. At the end of the day, there’s still one person between you and your flight: the ticket agent. And she can refuse you a seat on the plane if she wants to and then make herself “unavailable” when you’ve met that request, no matter how ridiculous it is.

In other words, I can get Zielinski an answer. But does he really want me to?

Should I mediate Ed Zielinski's case with American?

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127 thoughts on “Does flying poodle deserve a straight answer about his carrier?

      1. @elliottc:disqus It might be helpful too if they can take a picture with their dog in the carrier since the policy above has two standards… Carrier size and animal size within the carrier.

        1. I would like to see pictures of the original carrier with the tape measurements to confirm that the original carrier was the right size. A picture is worth a thousand words or in this case possible compensation from AA.

          1. Can you also explain why they used the word “ticketed”. You mean they did not have tickets when they showed up in the airport and AA was not willing to sell them tickets because of their pet issue?

            Also, how much time they did have to check in? You mean they had all the time to get a cab, buy a new pet carriage and get back in time to check in for boarding after another inspection?

            Somethings a little too weird with this story.

          2. Look at the pet policy. They have a limit of 7 pet carriers per flight, including two in first-class. These pet carriers have to be reserved in advance along with the owner being “ticketed”. One can’t simply show up and pay the $125 fee.

          3. Still does not explain why they didn’t have tickets.
            We have traveled with pets before and I can’t recall having to go to the airport to BUY tickets. In fact last time (albeit on Southwest), we picked up a cat for adoption (lame after being hit by a car) AFTER we already bought tickets. That was a flight back to LGA. We simply called in.

            ADDED: By the way a travel agent can simply enter a SSR PETC message in the PNR and get confirmation. So again I don’t understand why they didn’t have tickets.

          4. The carriers have a limited number of animals they allow on each flight. Why would this couple wait until they arrived at the airport to make arrangements for their dog to fly in the cabin with them? Or am I reading this incorrectly?

          5. Bodega, I had the same issue for a customer and it was also a poodle. I think the GA is right. Here’s why.
            There are three sizes of Poodle: toy, miniature, and standard. These aren’t different breeds, just different sizes of the same dog. The ToyPoodle stands up to 10 inches tall, and weighs about six to nine pounds. The Miniature Poodle stands 11 to 15 inches tall and weighs 15 to 17 pounds.

            The maximum size for cabin pet carriers is 19″ long x 13″ wide x 9″ high. Soft-sided 6pet carriers such as Sherpa bags may exceed these dimensions slightly because they are collapsible. Animals must be able to stand up, turn around and lie down in a natural position in the kennel.

            Since the smallest poodle is about 10 in. tall and the max allowable height of a carrier in 9 in., then poodles can’t be allowed in the cabin unless it is much shorter than 9 inches tall.

          6. I think “ticketed” is the language being used to describe having a reservation for the pet in the carrier. Or at least that’s my interpretation.

          7. Unless they arrived 2 to 4 hours early for their flight, it is hard for me to believe that they could find a cab (the last time that I took a cab from SLC, you need to wait in line); go to the store (there are pet stores that are 7 to 10 miles from the airport which could be 15 to 30 minutes of driving one way depending upon the traffic); find a carrier and purchase it: hopefully the taxi is still waiting for you; travel back to the airport…return to the ticket counter…get tickets…go through security…etc…all under a hour.

        2. From the OP:

          The dimensions of the old pet carrier were the same as the dimensions of the new pet carrier we were forced to purchase so we could get home.

          18″ long x 12″ wide x 11″ high. Since this is a Sherpa type carrier and collapsible, this carrier is compliant with the American Airlines policy.

          1. Well they could not buy anything bigger than that for in cabin use. So the only way to make sense of the AA agent is she did believed that dog is too big for the Sherpa container. I’m wondering if she meant buy a bigger container for CHECKING IN the dog (not in cabin).

    1. I agree…this is an important piece of information. I would like to see pictures with the tape measurements.

      I carry two tape measures with me…one is a plastic and the other is a metal (small one that is 10′)…both are small and doesn’t take up that much space in my computer bag.

      I used to work for one company where I had to ship a piece of demo equipment when I was on the road. The cabbage case for this demo equipment was the largest size that you can ship via UPS, FedEx, etc. If it was larger then I had to ship it via a common carrier, etc.

      There were a few times that I took it to a FedEx or UPS location where the counter person told me that they couldn’t take the cabbage case because it was too big without even measuring it. I took out my tape measure and measure it before the person stating the measurements and the maximum legal measurements.

      Also, I carry the tape measures in case if a ticket or counter agent question the size of my carry-on.

      1. Just for what it’s worth: Stanley makes a great little pocket tape measure. It’s 1/4″ thick by about 2″ in each direction, and it’s 10′ long. It costs from $5 – $10 online. Just Google: “Stanley 1/4″ pocket tape measure”. (And I get no commission.)

  1. “Zielinski says he’s flown with the same carrier numerous times, and without incident. But that didn’t seem to make a difference.”

    That’s correct, it should not make a difference. The only thing that should matter is what is the policy on size requirements, and what is the size of the carrier. If the carrier is too big, and the customer has been allowed to use it in the past, that is not carte blance to use it in perpetuity.

    Not knowing the actual dimension of Zielinski’s carrier makes this tough to mediate. The carry on pet carrier size policy is easily found on aa (dot) com:

    Pet Carrier Guidelines for Cabin Pets

    The maximum size for cabin pet carriers is 19″ long x 13″ wide x 9″ high. Soft-sided pet carriers such as Sherpa bags may exceed these dimensions slightly because they are collapsible. Animals must be able to stand up, turn around and lie down in a natural position in the kennel. Soft-sided pet carriers are accepted as long as they are constructed of water-repellent, padded nylon with mesh ventilation on two or more sides.

    1. Stories like this show us now badly we need a passenger bill of rights (whatever happened to that proposal, anyway?)One of which should be a right to consistent treatment from one flight to the next. A passenger who has been able to do X according to his airline’s policy on multiple trips should expect to be able to do X on the next trip, and not have it ruined by some agent who is having a bad day and loves to twist the screws on some unsuspecting traveler.

      1. A customerclientetc. should get consistent treatment from a company. There are companies that tape record and video record their employees. There are companies that have people listening to phone calls of their CSRs. People are lazy, are on power trips, are having bad days, etc.

        When I travel, I carry documents to support my position. For example, when I travel to Canada for work, I carry the section from NAFTA stating that I don’t need to have a work permit (I have run into a Canadian Customs Agent that was on a power trip where it took me two hours to clear customs instead of 30 seconds). When I have a domestic flight which connects to an international flight, I carry the section from the website that states the baggage and weight requirements of the international. I carry the POS document since most FAs are not aware of it or do not want to enforce it.

        This summer, my niece visited us. She purchased a guitar during her visit. I printed out the new regulation that allows guitar to be carried on and stow as a carry-on. When boarding her flight, either a gate agent or flight attendant tried to prevent her to carry on her guitar until she pulled out the paper with the regulations.

        The bottom line is that people are lazy, people are untrained, are on power trips, etc; therefore, a travelerconsumer needs to be ready.

        1. In addition to policies, I always carried a list of approved TSA carry on items as well. I can’t tell you how many times TSA tried to remove my ail clippers. Nail Clippers are listed as an approved carry on.

          1. I carry that list as well. When my son was young, we used to carry the pages from the TSA website about traveling with Infants and Toddlers in regards to formulaliquids, food, etc.

          2. I carry those pages too just in case. We have been fortunate, on our 6 R/T trips with my son, TSA has always been wonderful to us.

      2. I’m with Alan Gore on this and note Arizona Road Warrior’s comments. What’s traveling coming to?

        The sum of the advice from this wonderful Website of Elliott’s is to take photographs of all the cars you rent.. including scratches on the roof, photograph hotel rooms, ask in advance of mandatory charges, record conversations with representatives of various services, carry rules and regulations of the carriers, carry the rules of entry to various countries (re: the Canada story), also carry a copy of the TSA rules, and carry two different types of tape measures. Finally, make sure you have your eyes examined… including the ones in the back of your head.

    2. They never said that the current carrier was too big. In fact one gets the impression from the comment above ““The ticketing agent in Salt Lake City refused to ticket us, claiming the pet carrier was not large enough,” he says.” that the carrier they had previously been using was not large enough.

  2. For me, past practice isn’t relevant. Simply because someone else allowed you to break the rules in the past doesn’t mean that they have to continue to allow you to.

    I voted yes for one reason only. So the LW can get a clear explanation on what their policy is so he can adhere to it in the future. If the gate agent was pulling a power trip, I think AA owes them some level of compensation as well.

    1. I completely agree. If they let someone break the rules repeatedly, when they finally enforce them, it doesn’t matter that they got away with it in the past. I used to be on a parking ticket appeals committee. The most common appeal we got was that they parked illegally many times before and didn’t get a ticket, so they shouldn’t have to pay it this time either. So basically they are admitting to breaking the law repeatedly, that excuse never works.

      However, if the OPs carrier was regulation and adhered to the policy, then I think AA is in the wrong here.

      1. The judge could be nice (to the city…), and asks for a list of the previous violations, and issue consolidated fine for all. After all, it is a confession, isn’t it? 😉

        1. I actually joked about that. When I told someone about their denial, and they began to argue this point with me, I asked them if they would like us to issue additional tickets for the violations they reported.

    2. If he got away with it just once before, I’d agree with you. But by the time you’ve done something successfully multiple times it absolutely becomes relevant. And assuming the OP’s story is accurate, it really doesn’t matter what the policy is because the issue would be that the agent wouldn’t allow him to see the exact policy and a recommendation to “buy the largest carrier you can” certainly doesn’t sound like it was coming from any official policy.

      1. So … if you repeatedly ignore your boarding group and get on with group 1, the airline should just continue to allow you to do it even though you’re in group 3?
        The GA that finally catches you is wrong? Really Joe?

        As I put in my note, he is owed a copy of the policy and compensation if the GA wasn’t following it and cost them money.

        1. The airline (or any other business) should have consistency in how they enforce rules. Failure to do so causes problems. In this case the one person who stopped the OP from using the carrier refused to show him the official policy and gave incredibly vague advice suggesting they probably didn’t actually know the policy themselves. Until proven differently, the details of this case suggest a power trip by a single employee as opposed to this being the one employee the airline has who knows the rules and accurately enforces them.

          Your example isn’t a good comparison because there’s absolutely no evidence here of the OP trying to pull a fast one or get away with anything. They’ve been paying the fare for the dog and there’s no reason to think they wouldn’t have already been using a larger carrier if that made sense given they have extensive experience traveling with the animal.

          1. @Joe_D_Messina:disqus So in my example the person was doing it because when they got their CC they were told they’d be one of the first people on the plane.
            The person is still not following the airline’s policy. Simply because it gets caught doesn’t mean that the airline has to continue to allow them to do it indefinitely…

  3. Yes, mediate this. Sounds like this ticket agent needs an attitude adjustment.
    Maybe with a clue-by-four….

    Also, I hope he got her name.
    Publish it. Let us have some fun with her…

          1. How about warning the person who used *itch in his comments? Or the moderator that used *sshole in his comments? Be fair to everyone even if they have views that are different than yours!

          2. I am. I’m not concerned with anyone’s particular views but with how they express themselves. Flutiefan was told by a moderator to modify his/her tone for politeness and instead upped the rudeness factor by adding additional rude comments.

          3. i was??? when was i told by anyone (besides YOU) to modify anything? you didn not tell me to modify, you told me to “stop it”… which came across very rudely.
            and when did i respond to after that? i didn’t. i didn’t say anything to you or Grant Ritchie here until ARW defended.

            give me a break. who are you????? i honestly don’t know.

          4. me, Jennifer??? why not the guy who is being antagonistic?

            thank you, ARW, for pointing out the legalities. i didn’t have time to entertain this guy.

          5. Because you were doing it to a moderator who was letting you know that the way you expressed yourself was not acceptable and in violation of the TOS.

            Enough already. Either you knock off the attitude or you lose posting rights.

          6. my apologies, Jennifer, but ARW is right. you don’t kick off people for using profanity and personal insults, but you threaten me with suspension over this? absurd. i don’t have an attitude. you have crossed the line.

          7. How about malicious falsehood? Malice has been defined as a statement made by a person who knows it to be false or who is reckless as to its truth.

            It is my understanding (I am not a lawyer nor a journalist…my father had a newspaper chain as a client for over 20 years so I know what the reporters had to do in regards to fact checking; cross referencing, etc.) that a journalist can be guilty of malicious falsehood by rushing to judgment.

            What is the problem of getting the facts before stoning the person?

          8. How about malicious falsehood? Malice has been defined as a statement made by a person who knows it to be false or who is reckless as to its truth. It is my understanding (I am not a lawyer or a journalist…my father had a newspaper chain as a client for over 20 years so I know what the reporters had to do in regards to fact checking; cross referencing, etc.) that a journalist can be guilty of malicious falsehood by rushing to judgment.

            In addition to malicious falsehood, a journalist can be subject to slander (written words) or libel (spoken word…it is rare in the newsprint world but more common in broadcast media).
            As a side note, I have read Chris’ articles in other mediapublicationsetc. and they do follow the ‘rules of journalism’ and they are so different from the articles that he writes on this blog.

          9. Chris doesn’t know it to be false, not knowing something is true, does not mean KNOWING it is false.

            Slander is verbal, libel is written.

          10. Chris constantly reminds us that he is NOT a journalist, he is an advocate. look at the many times he has said so in past posts.

          11. He’s a published consumer advocate, he would qualify for legal protection under NYS’s journalist shield law.

        1. Shaming is the only way to deal with so many of these problems. Look at the sudden new focus on police misbehavior that we’re seeing now that citizens are taking videos of them committing major crimes in the line of duty just because they’re having a bad day. Cowed local grand juries and good-buddy prosecutors won’t indict them for such tantrums, as we have seen in two recent high-profile cases, but the Court of Internet Appeals is our tribunal of last resort.

        2. Don’t publish the name until the facts are in.

          It is like a person who is charged with a crime or even accused of doing something badillegalimmoraletc. and it is published is on page 1 of the newspaper or is the leading story on the TV news. However, when the charged is dismissed because it was a mistake or the person is found innocent, it is published on page 20 of the newspaper or is a correction on a FridaySaturdaySunday 11:00 PM newscast when the audience is the lowest.

          There are no videos, no pictures of the dog, no pictures of the original carrier with the tape measurements, etc…yet some people have already ‘convicted’ this agent of being wrong, being on a power trip. There have never been in the history of this blog, an OP that lied to Chris or failed to disclose the whole truth to Chris.

          If the OP can collaborate his story with pictures and etc then we can pass judgment on this agent.

    1. Before we rush to judgment and stone the ticket agent; throw this ticket agent in front of the bus or throw her to the wolves, we need to be sure that the original carrier met both requirements of physical dimensions and the animal fitting inside of the carrier in a normal position, etc.

      Yes, there are employees of companies that are on power trips, too lazy to do their jobs, etc. Also, there are OPs that haven’t disclosed all of the facts and etc…just because the OP traveled with this carrier in the past, it doesn’t mean that it was legal.

      Without having pictures of his dog and the carrier with measurements, we need to withhold judgment to make sure the OP is 100% in the right. When I was much younger, I used to rush with my judgments. In my twenties, I was a manager of 40 individuals and I learned that there are three truths…person A’s version of the truth, person B’s version of the truth and the actual truth which was something between A & B. I used to tell my team that I will go out on a limb for you as long as you don’t have a chain saw cutting that limb.

      Again, let’s confirm that the carrier is legal before we start to cast stones at this SLC agent.

      1. I was thinking about the same – the fact OP had traveled in the past with the carrier doesn’t mean it has the right size or if the pet fits OK inside.

        In other hands, because GA asked OP to “buy the largest pet carrier we could get”, it seems GA has no idea about the correct dimensional policy too.

        1. If I was the OP, I would have taken pictures of the original carrier with tape measurements as well as the dog in the carrier and the dog on a scale to prove that I was 100% in the right. I would have sent a polite letter to AA along with the pictures.

          It bothers me when people rush to judgment without having all of the facts.

          1. Who will judge whether their pet can turn around inside the bag?
            I would think this is the call of the gate agent.

          2. Nah, it’s the call of the pet. Just ask the pet if he’s able to turn around. That will settle it.

          3. it bothers me that Chris wants to publish the agent’s full name and that posters are accepting of that.

        2. Excellent post Helio!
          Alarm bells ringing … buy the largest pet carrier we could get .

          I remember having to do this research for a customer (twice). After the second time, I refused to do it again even if my customers paid me. This is just too crazy for me.

          There is no standard between airlines and between countries (destinations). However, there was one thing that stuck to my mind for the airlines what allowed pets (in carriers) — even if they post the acceptable size, the pet must fit comfortably standing up. AA specifically says

          The maximum size for cabin pet carriers is 19″ long x 13″ wide x 9″
          high. Soft-sided pet carriers such as Sherpa bags may exceed
          these dimensions slightly because they are collapsible. Animals
          must be able to stand up, turn around and lie down in a natural
          position in the kennel
          . Soft-sided pet carriers are accepted as
          long as they are constructed of water-repellent, padded
          nylon with mesh ventilation on two or more sides.

          So, the gate agent may find that your pet is too big for the container and say you need to get a bigger container (or a smaller pet). Is this a power trip? I don’t think so.

      2. Exactly. I sympathize with people who have had the ability to make judgement calls taken away from them in the name of a one size fits all policy. We don’t know her side and perhaps never will.

      3. exactly what i was going to post. the carrier might actually be ok, but might not be acceptable for that particular animal based on size. yes, they must be able to stand and turn around. you wouldn’t believe the dogs people try to cram in the bags that fit under the seats. it’s cruel.
        do i agree with her not showing the OP the written rules? no, if that’s in fact what happened. it’s usually very simple to pull up on the website, in black and white, and show the passenger.
        and i don’t care if they do this “all the time” just because someone else has made a mistake does not mean i am going to repeat it.

        1. There are people that treat their pets like a member of their family or even as children. Just like there are SOME parents that believe that their little Johnny or Mary is a saint, will never cause problems, etc…there are SOME pet owners that believe the same thing that their Fido is the most perfect dog and they can’t be wrong.
          As posted below, it could be that the carrier could be too small and the OP didn’t want to hear it. Or the agent could have been a power trip.

        1. The carrier could have been illegal all of those years…just like the tint job on the certified Honda was illegal for four years before a police officer in Alabama pulled over the Honda for having tint darker than the maximum.

          maybe the dog has gained weight over the 15 years like us humans thus making it harder for the dog to stand or turn around in the carrier.
          Another possibility is that the agent was wrong, on a power trip, etc.

          We don’t know until we have all of the facts. My point is until we have all of the facts and know that the OP is 100% in the right, we should withhold our judgment until then.

  4. Yes, I think you should mediate the case and attempt to get a clear answer from the airline, preferably something with objectively measurable requirements. My unsolicited advice to the gentleman in question would be to comply with the requirements you discover and then carry that paper trail in his carry-on whenever traveling with the animal. It’s not perfect, but it might save him a little trouble in case he encounters a ticket agent on a power trip again. Most people back down in the face of overwhelming evidence and a confident speaker.

  5. Sorry but there is more than “one” person between you and the flight you are getting on. There is another person -a SUPERVISOR. Why do people just continue to argue/ challenge or passively “obey” the directions of some idiot sending them by taxi to buy another kennel? Since they now missed their original flight, just go with that but escalate to a Supervisor. There are supervisors and they do get paid well to act as such.

    Time to walk away, and thank the agent (fake it), ask to be rebooked later in the day or tomorrow. Out of sight then ask for a supervisor and explain calmly what is happening and show them how the animal fits in the kennel, etc. You want to do this so that the agent doesn’t have time to poison the supervisor with their power trip (though they have probably put comments in the booking already). Chances are good the supervisor will work with you and probably compromise, especially since you have used the kennel in the past (unless it is ridiculously/obviously small). You don’t have to “yell” but please don’t be so passive. I’ve seen this happen many times.

    1. When Can’tinental tried to rob me of $60 for a thru-flight to Asia with their partner airline, a flight I’d taken maybe 12 times previously, I asked for a supervisor in Dulles Airport. The thief told me that there was no supervisor available. Yeah? Really?

        1. Called the partner airline and ascertained that they had for me a seat two days later. Told the Can’tinental lady that she could either put me on the a/c w/o the $60 charge, or I’d leave, go home, initiate legal action against Can’tinental, and get to the partner airline by other means. They allowed me to board. That was the LAST time I flew on that terrible maintenance [thrust reverser unlocked during my flight – fortunate it didn’t deploy] ALWAYS LATE, MIS-ROUTE-your-luggage airline. And those were their GOOD points. They had a habit of changing the flights WITHOUT notifying me [even though they had my contact info] and moving the flights later which put me in jeopardy of missing my connections. AND wanting a $100 CHANGE FEE to fix THEIR mess-up. I didn’t like ’em…..

      1. I just love your “can’tinental” label…….so true. Their mantra is all “NO” – “can’t do it”, “we don’t do that”. NO, NO, NO. They say “yes” to nothing.
        Negative experience, for a fact.

          1. Please keep in mind, though, that CO is doing business as United. Just about all vestiges of United are now “run” by CO management from Smi-sick’s office down. The death knell was when they changed from the FastAir (computer system) to Continental’s SHARES – 3/3/12 and tried to run this huge airline (United) like their less sophisticated one (Continental). Believe me, within days, weeks, any high value, elite fliers of United saw the handwriting on the wall and experienced the “NO” effect, leaving in droves, defecting to DL and AA. United employees were set back decades, now unable to maneuver in a very old system versus the one they knew and were used to. Five days of training on SHARES…..laughable while trying to work and apologize and “explain” to the passengers what was happening, while not even understanding it themselves. What used to take seconds in FastAir now took 10-15-20 minutes to do the simplest of tasks – seat assignments, issuing bag tags for connections, etc. This is just a drop in the bucket. Any “help” necessitated calling a help desk phone number while the CO employee at the other end – (not at the airport under real-time conditions) – lectured on why one couldn’t, can’t, won’t do something. Really, almost three years have gone by and not much has improved. Continental doesn’t care – they don’t care !!

          2. Can’tinental:

            -Always late
            -Bad Maintenance: Personally experienced a turn-around due to a failure of thrust-reverser to lock = flat spin = crash = you croak = AMF.
            -Change your flights w/o notify you even tho they have your phone number. To change to a flight to ensure you’ll make the connection, they wanted $100.

            -Try to extort baggage fees on a connection to international partner.
            -Got an itinerary in Bangkok, and 3 days later – no airplane in EWR. Tried to imply it’s MY fault. Did I INVENT THIS PIECE OF PAPER?

          3. and purposely mis-routed my luggage. caught up with the woman next time and she knew I was unhappy. As in look of fear on her face.

  6. I voted yes, but I don’t think you are going to get an answer, I think if the original carrier meets the FAA and AA requirements, then AA owes him for cab fare and the new carrier. He can drop the new one off in return if they so wish. I also think AA needs to fire this employee, however they most likely with just “Re-Train”, which in my experience means nothing.

    I am so sick of random employees going off on power trips like this. I had a friend who’s daughter has a service dog for mobility issues and seizures. An AA agent refused to let her board stating that the dog wasn’t allowed in the cabin due to its size. This is a real service dog, which must be allowed under ADA, not a therapy dog. She missed her flight. Fortunately the next gate agent re-booked her and let her on the next flight.

    On a recent trip I had 3 Southwest agents (All separately) try to force me to check my car seat. My son had his own paid ticket, and would be sitting in his car seat on the plane. Yet three times I had to argue and fight to be able to get the car seat on the plane. It is an FAA approved car seat.

    There are many people who want jobs. Yet so many people with them act like this. This densest just occur in airlines, it seems to happen at many businesses.

    1. How old was your son at the time? We used to run into this all of time when our son was under 2. We purchased a seat for him instead of making him a lap child. Most gate agents and FAs were surprised that we purchased a seat for him. If your son was under 2 at the time, it is my guess that the Southwest agents were like the agents that we encountered.

      One time, an agent told us that the car seat wasn’t FAA approved (this was after this agent told us that we couldn’t bring the car seat on the flight). I took out the document that listed that it was a FAA approved car seat as well as the stickerlabel on it. This agent was trying to save face after making a mistake that my son who had his own ticket couldn’t bring on his car seat.

    2. I ran into this, too. UA agent in ATL tried to tell me it was “policy” that under-2s had to sit parents laps. I told her she needed to check her policies because as long as I bought the seat, the carseat could ride in it, along with the kid.

      She gave me grief…but in the end her supervisor corrected her. Turns out she wanted the seat to avoid bumping someone. Too bad, not my problem.

      1. Can we agree that management is cruel to both travelers and it’s own employees. Must frontline customer service reps, counter agents, etc do not want to say no, ever to a customer. Why it just makes their job and their work harder and more frustrating, but they have bosses and supervisors and bills to pay like everyone else.

        1. I don’t think it’s always management, Psy. I’ve helped Chris mediate hundreds of consumer complaints, and the majority of the time, once management gets wind of what their lower level employees have done, they make things right. I’m sure that, sometimes, it’s because they know that Chris is involved, so they do whatever they have to do to avoid negative publicity, but a lot of times, they DON’T know he’s involved. We stay behind the scenes and walk consumers through the appeal process, and management still does the right thing. There just seem to be a lot of pathetic little people in frontline positions who live to say “No.”

    3. Wow big time fail for the airline. You had a paid ticket and an FAA approved seat.
      Good thing they did not bump your baby because they cannot get away with that.

      I wonder if management tells them to do bad things like this.

      1. before my company got a new crop of employees about 2 years ago, i would have said no way. now, i just don’t know. it’s coming at me from all sides, management included. surrounded by people who can’t do their jobs correctly and who don’t even bother to try. it’s infuriating.

  7. Please do get an answer that he can print and take with him. Otherwise he has to travel with a tape measure so he isn’t on the receiving end of a ticket agent having a bad day.

  8. Ed, it is time to call these innane to insane employees to the mat. Get names, file reports, demand supervisors…..otherwise fight back. Do so in a business like manner so you are not removed from the airport, but stop taking the crap that 1 employee throws at you. I too, want these people out of the airport, they do not belong there! We deserve to have an enjoyable experience, not have to freak out on every trip. Get everybody else in line behind you to file complaints. Back in ’69, we had sit-ins, today they are called lawsuits.

    1. Because we don’t know the other side, and we haven’t heard the other side. What if this gate agent was being assessed by a supervisor at that time and the agents supervisor is a super strict and rigid SOB, and the agent was just following the letter of the rules as they were told too (even if those instructions were incorrect).

        1. I once saw a bumper sticker that read “PETA” in big letters, and underneath read “People Eating Tasty Animals” in small letters.

  9. The LW needs to take a video of him measuring the carrier, and then his dog in the carrier standing and turning around. As long as the video shows he is within the airline’s specifications, then he deserves compensation.

  10. Why didn’t he get back in line and go to another agent, who probably would have been reasonable? Not that he should have to do that, but it probably would have done the trick.

  11. If there’s any absolute truism when it comes to flying, it’s that YOU NEVER KNOW. Last October, the Lexington KY airport TSA explained pre-check to me. I thought it was great and have been pre-checked on most of my flights this last year. Yesterday at LEX, I was required to take out my laptop, produce my little bag of makeup and a couple of other things I can’t remember because I was so annoyed. They told me that they were only “expedited” at LEX, not pre-check. So I asked “what’s the point?” and was told that I didn’t have to take off my shoes. Travelling by air today, you better have a sense of humor and be ready for everything to be different than it was last time.
    Eddie, get a pet sitter and leave the dog at home, it’s not worth the grief. What if they won’t let you return from your trip with the dog?

  12. I just read this story again because it didn’t make sense to me after I thought about it. Is it possible the ticket agent is a true animal lover and thought the carrier was too small for the dog? Was the dog stuffed into the carrier? I’d have a problem with the dog’s comfort, that’s for sure.

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