A New Zealand couple, Gill and Warren Press, are seeking compensation following an odorous ordeal. Their journey from Paris to Singapore’s Changi airport, aboard Singapore Airlines, was tainted by the unanticipated company of a flatulent support dog.
The couple, residents of Wellington, was unaware that they would be sharing their long-haul flight with a perceptibly congested bulldog. They first noticed the pet’s pronounced snorting, initially mistaking it for a noise from Warren’s mobile phone.
Despite having secured premium economy tickets for the promise of additional comfort, the Presses found themselves enduring an unpromising mixture of canine flatulence, halitosis, and drool. Warren, attired in shorts, received an unwelcome deposit of dog slobber on his leg.
The airline staff elucidated that the bulldog was a designated ‘support animal,’ travelling alongside its owner, who was situated by the window. They expressed that relocating the dog was not feasible for fear of it wandering into the aisle and hindering the catering trolley.
With the flight fully booked, the only recourse available to the passengers was accepting alternate seats in economy class. After initial reluctance, they conceded to the change halfway through their journey.
The Presses, who had purchased their tickets via Air New Zealand, reported that while they’d been offered travel vouchers, their request for a refund had yet to be resolved.
A spokesperson for Singapore Airlines expressed the company’s endeavor to notify passengers sharing their vicinity with a pet before boarding, providing seating alternatives wherever plausible.
“We were unable to move Mr and Mrs Press within the same cabin as the Premium Economy Class cabin was full. Our crew offered to move Mr and Mrs Press to two empty seats in Economy Class, which they accepted after take-off,” stated the spokesperson.
Additionally, the airlines conveyed their apology to the aggrieved passengers, reaffirming their commitment to provide any further requisite assistance.
Singapore Airlines had recently revised their terms of service concerning support dogs, imposing a ban on emotional support animals in its cabins as of April 1. Nevertheless, any tickets booked before this modification would still be honored, although they refrained from divulging the number of outstanding bookings, citing confidentiality as their reason.
The airline continues to permit the travel of approved assistance dogs, such as guide dogs for passengers with visual or auditory impairments. Certain dog breeds with respiratory troubles have travel restrictions on flights longer than five hours with some airlines like Air New Zealand.
However, the dog in question did not belong to one of the prohibited breeds as per Singapore Airline’s policies. They confirmed that assistance dogs compliant with their requirements were indeed eligible to travel on board their flights.
Meanwhile, Air New Zealand conveyed their stance that policy regarding assistance dogs primarily fell under the authority of the operating airline.