If we must pay extra for every little thing for our flight, then airlines should inform us when your seatmate is literally an animal!
It was 30 minutes before landing when I started hallucinating. The combination of cabin pressure, non-stop babbling pensioners on their way to a connecting flight to Boston, and cat hair had me talking to the ghost of Elvis.
I fly way too often, so the mystique of hurtling through the air at 800 miles an hour 30,000 feet above the earth has long since been lost. I accept that it is little more than another form of transport, a glorified bus, as many have commented. And I am also accustomed to paying extra for that extra 2.54 centimetres of leg room, another piece of luggage, and being forced to smuggle bottles of water in my pants.
But now things have become too unacceptable. Even dangerous. I'm talking about animals. Specifically, pets. Even more specifically, people travelling on planes, enclosed spaces with no possibility of escape, with pets. This trend must be regulated, and regulated fast, before it's too late.
I understand people not being to go on their two-week holiday without a fluffy companion. I accept that for many people their pets are more like friends. I can even see how some people believe that animals are superior to other people. But I draw the line where I am held captive against my will to a creature that doesn't care if I live or die.
It started with people carrying a Devonshire Rex or Chihuahua discreetly in an oversized Louis Vuitton purse. Then we had pet passports and emotional support animals. People have even successfully boarded with a Turkey and even tried to board with a Kangaroo.
The American couple next to me had a cat. Its name was Ruby, had been with them for 12 years and had kept them company ever since their son Gerry got married with Jennifer who forced them to move from Boston to Phoenix. I know this because I was forced to listen to the lady for 3 hours talking to the cat non-stop with little to no interruption from her husband other than a "uh huh" "mm hmm" and sure.
I could do something minor about the non-stop jabber by turning up the volume on my phone, blasting music to drown out the chatter. But my son had somehow managed to erase my podcasts and replaced my "Learn Luxemburgish in 39 easy lessons", with Nickelback. So, it was a bit of a double-edged sword.
The cat-hair however, was a different story. I have allergies, but I can't take antihistamine when I fly as I need to drive when I land. I was forced to endure. One hour into the flight, the unmistakeable odour of mangy cat had overtaken the cabin. My eyes had teared up, my head was throbbing and everyone from rows 13-19 were trying to manipulate the oxygen masks so that they'd drop.
People complained, I couldn't change seats because the plane was full, the stewardesses could do nothing more than offer aspirin and I had lost the strength to strangle Ruby.
I'm also allergic to lactose and I'd decided to end the pain by overdosing on cheese when the pilot announced the descent into Zürich when Elvis told me what I was feeling was just Burning Love, that it would soon be all right and to fasten my seat belt.
I understand that people nowadays board planes without having taken a shower, and have weird smells, and break wind and take off their shoes at the first opportunity. But at least in general they make an effort to be subtle, or sneaky, either with an overdose of Axe after-spray, or the strategic cough, or offer you a shot of Baileys snuck in with their baby bottles.
Animals pee and poo, shed their fur and wave their paws in the air like they don't care.
If airlines charge us extra for each seat, for each piece of luggage, for extra legroom, for boarding first, for special meals and so much more, then we should have the right to sit 'stink-free'.
If you can't ban loud babbling Americans and you can't ban animals, then just give us some seat change options before the flight, or a grievance discount.
I've officially complained to the airline, and even if they accept my complaint about the animals, they still have to answer for me being forced to listen three hours straight to Nickelback.