Thank You for Your SupportOpinion
OPINION—Honestly, I don’t know what the world is coming to. More specifically, I don’t know what the world of air travel is coming to. But wherever air travel is headed, one thing is certain: it will be delayed.
Flying used to be a fun thing to do, as long as you weren’t afraid of heights, or tiny spaces, or death. The extra hassles due to the 9/11 attacks were a pain, but everyone kind of went along, because it sort of felt like the airlines had our best interests at heart. We knew the TSA people really cared. Plus, if we didn’t comply, they could take us into small, airless rooms where there were bare bulbs and rubber hoses and surgical gloves. TSA seems to hire field agents retired from the KG used to B.
And then, in 2017, there must have been a meeting. The airlines must have decided to see just how far they could push regular people before we all snapped. United Airlines sold a man a ticket from Chicago to Louisville, and let him get on the plane and take his seat, and then told him, “Surprise, we were just kidding! You have to get off the plane now.”
Granted, the TSA staff and airline folks have to put up with a lot from their passengers. People are always trying to sneak dangerous, illegal stuff onto planes. You’d be surprised how many fingernail files and paper clips the TSA confiscates every day. I’d be surprised, too, probably, because I have no idea.
What I do know is that the Armored Tank of Political Correctness has run smack dab into the Immovable Object of TSA’s ‘Turn Your Head And Cough’ Authority, and the resulting explosion is threatening to sink the Titanic of American Happiness. Please don’t try to use such metaphors without extensive training. And a helmet.
Here’s what’s happened. Some people use service animals, like Seeing Eye Dogs and such. Some, such as epileptics, have animals trained to sense when they’re about to have an attack, and warn their owners so they can take precautions. So those folks have to take their animals with them when they travel. Which is perfectly understandable.
Lately the Political Correctness juggernaut has taken advantage of this situation, and people have started going around with ‘Emotional Support Animals.’ These are animals that calm their owners and keep them from going nuts, or something. Since service animals are allowed to fly with their owners, the airlines were kind of pressured to allow emotional support animals on planes, too. The owners just need a note from their doctor. Or Mommy, I guess. I don’t know how it works. And I don’t want to know.
The problem is that emotional support animals are not trained as well as service animals. Or at all, evidently. Airlines have reported lots of problems, such as barking, snarling, maulings, and quite a few instances of poop and wee-wee in the aisles. And the animals aren’t behaving too well, either.
Just kidding. But that’s not even the worst of it. Once the airlines opened the Pandora’s Box of critters, they had a hard time closing it. People are demanding to be allowed to fly with more and more exotic creatures, claiming emotional support. A woman was recently bumped from a United flight out of Newark Airport because of her emotional support peacock. If you can imagine.
The woman had called the airline, and was told she couldn’t fly with the bird, but she showed up with it anyway. She had even bought a ticket for the peacock. My view is that anyone who claims to need a peacock for emotional support definitely needs . . . something. But she needs it someplace I’m not, for sure.
Another example is Belen Aldecosea, a young woman from Florida who planned to fly home from college in Baltimore with her emotional support hamster named Pebbles. The hamster had helped Belen get through some traumatic health scare. In my opinion, anyone from Florida who’s going to college in Baltimore definitely needs emotional support. Plus her parents named her Belen. So there’s that.
But Spirit Airlines said Belen couldn’t fly with Pebbles, even though one of their reps in Miami had said she could. To top it off, when Belen couldn’t arrange any alternate plans for Pebbles, she claims a Spirit agent told her to flush the little darling down the toilet. And she actually did it. Yikes.
Spirit claims no one told Belen any such thing, so now there are lawyers involved. Gone are the days when an American citizen can flush an unwanted rodent with impunity, I guess. I honestly don’t know who is lying, here, but it can’t be Pebbles. She hasn’t made a peep since Belen sent her to that big cesspool in the ground.
Honestly, I don’t know where all this is going. But I know where I’m going. I’m headed to Washington, D.C. on United. And I’m taking my emotional support rattlesnake with me . . .