A New Zealand couple is seeking full compensation from an airline, claiming that a “snorting” and “farting” dog in their aisle ruined their experience.
Gill and Warren Press are gunning for a full refund from Singapore Airlines after their 13-hour flight — Paris to Singapore — was ruined by a passenger’s dog.
According to Stuff, a New Zealand news website, the pair said they were first “surprised” when they discovered a passenger was bringing a dog with them for the long-haul flight.
“I heard this noise – a heavy snorting,” Gill said.
“I thought it was my husband’s phone, but we looked down and realised it was the dog breathing.
“I said, ‘I’m not having this sitting next to us the whole trip’.”
It was then revealed that the passenger — who was holding the dog — told another person that he “gets anxious” during flights and he needed the little fur ball for support. However, the pair claimed the dog “appeared to be in a distressed state”.
Gill and Warren expressed their concerns to a flight attendant, but unfortunately, the only free seats at the time were at the back of the plane in economy — meaning they would be leaving their premium economy seats behind. So, instead, the couple decided to stick it out for the 13-hour journey.
Halfway through the flight, the pair said they couldn’t take it anymore as the pup was “farting” and slobbering all over Warren’s leg.
“[The passenger] 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,” Gill told Stuff.
“My husband was in shorts, and was getting the dog’s saliva goo on his leg.”
The couple called a second time for a flight attendant. This time, they agreed to move seats as they could no longer handle flying with the pup.
As per the publication, the pair were reportedly moved to an aisle located in front of the economy cabin, ultimately giving up their premium economy seats. The seats were also free as they were originally reserved for staff.
As they moved seats, the couple said that an incident report would be made in regard to their experience.
After a week of silence, the Wellington couple decided to follow up with their incident report via an email to the airline’s customer service team.
Gill and Warren got a response two weeks later, but according to the couple, they only received an SGD $100 (AUD$114) gift card for the airline’s website. In disappointment, the couple replied, saying that it “didn’t reflect the difference in value between their premium economy seats and the economy seats they ended up sitting.”
Singapore Airlines reportedly responded three weeks later, changing the gift cards to SGD$160 (AUD$185) per person.
Due to this change, the couple described the process as “unacceptable” and that they’re now seeking a full refund for that flight.
“We didn’t receive the experience we paid for,” Gill continued.
According to Stuff, the pair were mostly upset that they weren’t notified of the dog prior to booking the seats, and they had a dog of their own. Therefore, their complaint didn’t come from a place of a dislike towards the animal.
A spokesperson for Singapore Airlines has apologised again to the couple for “any inconvenience or distress” this incident has caused, as per the publication.
“Singapore Airlines endeavours to notify customers who may be seated next to an assistance dog prior to boarding the flight. We sincerely apologise that this did not occur in this case, and will work with our airport teams to ensure that this lapse does not occur in future,” they said.
“In circumstances where customers seated next to an assistance dog request to be moved, Singapore Airlines will assist to re-seat customers within the same cabin where space permits.”
According to the company’s website, from April 1, the airline “no longer allows customers to travel with their emotional support dogs on board flights.”
However, the airline will continue to allow dogs to assist people with disabilities on board flights.
Even as a huge dog person who loves to be around the cuties 24/7, I can totally understand what this couple is going through. Like, being around farts for 13 hours straight in a tin can that’s floating in the sky sounds like hell.
Hopefully, the Press couple see some form of compensation soon, and hopefully, the little doggo doesn’t have to fly such a long distance again.
Image source: Warner Bros. / Scooby-Doo