Mindy G Yrg
AirTran Airways - Pet Policy - Facticious Rules & RUDE treatment!!!
Boo on you…AirTran. The pet policies on AirTran are atrocious!! FYI: I have already spoken w/ your customer service rep on Monday…day of flight…for 30 min. I haven't received any response yet. I'll see how long after Thanksgiving it takes for a response…if @ all. What's even more interesting is that Southwest's pet policy is: "Southwest Airlines accepts small vaccinated domestic cats & dogs. All in-cabin pets must be carried in an appropriate carrier, as indicated below & are subject to a $75 pet fare each way/pet carrier. The pet carrier counts as either a carryon item or a personal item." "Southwest Airlines allows only one pet carrier/ticketed Passenger." "The carrier may contain two (2) cats or dogs & must be of the same species/carrier." "The cat or dog must be completely inside the pet carrier & be able to stand up & move around the carrier with ease." This finding is particularly interesting as AirTran is NOW owned by Southwest & I followed SW's pet policy to a 'T'!! Also the pet carrier I was required to purchase was nearly 1/2 the size of my carrier…& provided poor Mister Charlie far less room than Bailey Sue had in the carrier I already had. He certainly was NOT able to stand up & move around the carrier with ease…as it was quite evident when I witnessed the top of the bag bulging when he stood up. Supposedly the policies have recently changed…however the policy stated on AirTran's own website does not reflect the 'new' changes. My problem on Monday: While flying home for Thanksgiving…as I was waiting to board w/ my 2 precious small Maltese dogs…a 'NEW' policy was presented verbally that only 1 dog/carrier was allowed. This creates quite a problem b/c in order to do this it requires an extra carrier &…according to the 'NEW' policy…would require an extra person. As it now states…"Airfare for a pet is $75 one-way & is non-refundable. Six (6) pets are allowed with a limit of one (1) pet/paying customer traveling on the same flight." And THAT'S where 'they' got me!!! Nowhere did it state that 2 dogs can not be in the same carrier…nor does the current policy even have a weight restriction. But as soon as 'they' NOW noticed the '1 pet/paying passenger' policy…the issue was now 'that'…& not '2 dogs in the same carrier' issue. :0 See…I am a single young woman who has flown multiple times w/ dogs on AirTran & other companies…& have NEVER received this kind of mistreatment & humiliation…& @ the GATE no less!! I nearly missed my flight d/t this last minute…'Oh we can't allow 2 dogs in the same carrier crisis.' (FYI: I had been sitting @ the gate since 9:30 am & flight did not leave till 11:08 am.) This pet carrier crisis wasn't brought to my attention until the flight was about to board!? :0| First…the claim by AirTran employee Stephanie Rutledge…was that only a mother & her pup could fly in the same carrier. Knowing that the 'current' policy did not state this…I replied w/ 'This IS her son. She's 5 & he's 2.' To which her response was: The pups must be of the same litter & under 8 wks old. That's when I required this 'new' policy be shown in WRITING. As her worried eyes skimmed the current printed policy…I could tell that it obviously did NOT have her statement in it. I even had to go so far as to bring it up on my iPad to prove to her that the policy she was holding (that I currently have in my possession)…was the SAME one on the internet. Then…& only then…did she latch on to the new '1 pet/flying customer' policy. And as I said previously…THAT'S where they had me! I was told I must purchase a 2nd carrier & pay an additional $75 pet fee. Their solution ONLY created more problems for me…cause NOW I had 3 carry-ons…& 'Oh Yeah!'…2 dogs in 2 separate carriers but only 1 paying passenger. :0 If it hadn't been for 2 lovely angels…placed in my path Monday…I would still be in Tampa Airport stranded w/ no way of getting back home…to either of the 2. First the issue was I needed to pay for an additional pet fee & carrier…which easily totaled over $100. I had only a small amount of $$ on me & they would not even speak to my mother over the phone who was trying to do anything at this point to get me home. They wouldn't even attempt to manually type in the same CC # that I used to purchase my ticket, original pet fee, & checked luggage fee. They wanted the physical card now. That's when the 1st angel walked into my life in the form of 'Kim from DC'. She ended up paying w/ her own CC & would not even give me her address to repay her…OR to even send a thank you! She must have noticed my shirt I was wearing & told me 'It's fine…I ran the half marathon w/ you yesterday". It was like a breeze of fresh comradery had entered my solo circle of it's ME against ALL of 'YOU' mentality. In a clash of irony…the Women's Half Marathon in St. Petersburg had brought 2 first time race runners together in this time of crisis. Of course that's where AirTran employees had to shortly dash my hope w/ yet another one of their problems. I still needed a 2nd paying passenger for the 2nd dog. That's when my 2nd angel entered my life…in the form of 'passenger last name Norman in row 30'. She volunteered to take 1 dog during the flight & that's the info she gave me as she boarded the plane in case I was also allowed to board. Of course AirTran employees went so far as to look the info on the other passenger to insure its accuracy. And THEN…& ONLY THEN…was I able to board my flight for my quick 2 hr flight back home. Boy!…it sure seemed like they were doing more to prevent me from getting on that plane than helping me to board. I wish that's where my troubles w/ AirTran stopped…but NO! :0( I was either treated rudely or snubbed by the gentleman supervisor attendant & 2 female flight attendants. Before we took off…as the gentleman was walking the isles…I requested his attention. It felt as if he was purposely avoiding me w/ his back turned so I called for his attention w/ 'Sir'. Then you would have thought another CRISIS happened. He turned around & in a very rude, harsh tone barked, "WHAT'S HE DOING OUT?!?!" I looked down at my feet to see the most adorable, sweetest little head had popped out of the small *** carrier I was required to purchase that was nearly 1/2 the size of my carrier. It was Mister Charlie…my mischievous little guy…that was only trying to get some air out from under the seat. He also was flying for the 1st time solo & was more anxious…as they made me separate him from his mommy 3 rows up. I replied that he wasn't out…he had just 'popped' his head out. I was then lectured as to how the carrier was to remain closed @ all times! Even though the pet policy only states: "The pet must remain in the carrier & under the seat for the duration of the flight." Mister was NEVER out of the carrier OR out from under the seat. Nowhere does it mention that the carrier must be zipped up completely OR that the dog's nose or head can't be 'popped' out for air. How does AirTran expect animals to get ANY water during the flight w/ this factitious statement that was being enforced. He also made it a point to mention "…cause I've already spoken to the pilot & he knows if there's ANY problems with you…" Not sure what would have happened cause that's where he ended his threat. I was & STILL AM insulted that he felt he had to report me to the pilot…like I was a possible terroristic threat!! All due to the INCONSISTENT…INACCURATE pet policies that need some major revamping & ENFORCED PROPERLY!!! How in the world does AirTran expect anyone traveling solo to fly w/ 2 small dogs weighing roughly 10 lbs combined?!?! Well according to AirTran's 'new' pet policy…they can't EVER! Even if I chose to EVER support AirTran w/ my $$ again…I couldn't as the 'new' policy stands. I obviously wish I had never had this undue stress put upon me…but if it had not been for AirTran's inconsistent & rude treatment…I would have never been able to experience the wonderful, generous, kindness of 2 totally complete strangers!! :0 If I had the financial resources & personal connections…I would LOVE to start my own airline for animals…particularly canines. This airline would NOT make you pay $150 for 2 dogs one-way…& then make you shove them under hot seats in a much smaller carrier than the one you already had. INSTEAD it would cater to humans & canines equally…allowing carriers…or even better yet…dog car seats…to be placed securely fastened in the seat right next to you!! Your dog could be attended to properly…given adequate food & especially WATER! NOT thrown under a hot seat after paying more than most humans on the plane did for their one-way ticket. In this day in age…I have a choice as to the companies I support w/ my $$. I most certainly WILL support the companies who value & RESECT both me & my dogs! BOO…BOO on you AirTran!!! :0
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