After our encounter with the fox, we got on with the day. We arrived at Heathrow Terminal 2. This time Mummy did not get lost like she did the week before. She checked us in at Swiss Air – we were greeted with a big smile, asked if I’m a “service” dog. Yes, I am.In the meantime, other passengers asked to take their photos with me. I obliged.
After checking in Mummy had to pay for my airfare to fly in-cabin. We’re flying from London to Zürich and then onto Vienna. On the way back we’re stopping in Zürich as we cannot fly back into the UK in-cabin. So she only paid for three legs of the journey for me.
We went through the Fast Lane, and again, constantly greeted by smiling faces – pretty dog, passers-by would say. Mummy was bursting with pride.
At security, the staff walked me across while Mummy of course beeped because of her titanium hip.
Once on the other side, security checked my papers that says I am an emotional therapy dog and then we were allowed through but I needed to be in my bag. Yes, at a hefty 9.9kg, I am a big heavy for the shoulders but the tote bag is built with a base so Mummy could also wheel me along on her roller.
Boarding time came very quickly when you’re in a lounge. We made our way to the gate and poor Mummy’s having to carry me all the way. As we were boarding, an English couple came up to ask how Mummy managed to get me on board because they have a cockapoo that looks just like me and they live near Windsor. We of course told them about our Hyde Park meets and they may come and join us!
Upon entering the plane, the staff told Mummy that I must be at all times in the bag. Mummy reassured her I will be.
The other passengers on board were also very helpful and gave Mummy a hand. She doesn’t believe in checking in bags. This time I think she was more concerned that the luggage might get lost and she will have nothing to wear for the wedding. You never know, she said.
We sat to a lovely gentleman from New Zealand – and told us his son, who was sitting across the aisle really wants a dog. But they’ve never met a cockapoo nor spoodle, it seems.
It’s been awhile since I’ve flown so as the plane took off, I looked up at Mummy – to be sure everything was ok.During the flight, Mummy put me on her lap as I wanted to look outside. I saw clouds and more clouds.Mummy went to the toilet, but I sat quietly and waited for her return.And when I got a bit bored, I went and put my head on the seat in between her legs. But i never once attempted to get out of the bag.
We arrived in Zurich and changed planes to get to Vienna. Once inside the terminal, Mummy did not have to carry me. We walked along from the B Gates to the A Gates, going through Immigration. All seems fine until we boarded the next flight.
Upon entering the staff asked if I could be completely inside the bag. Mummy explained that I am bigger than the small dogs and the bag was made purposefully for me to travel with her as an emotional support dog. No, she insisted, that this leg of the journey that was disallowed. Except Mummy had called Swiss Air at least for times to confirm it was ok. There were a lot of mixed messages, it seems from everyone. They didn’t tell us to get off the plane but the staff kept saying I had to be zipped in. Mummy asked who is it bothering that my head was out and as I always seems to do, I know when a situation is contentious and I sat all curled up quietly under the seat. The staff went on to say – but someone could be allergic to dogs to which Mummy answered that I am hypoallergenic and usually if someone is allergic, they have to be in contact. She didn’t have a response and went to check with the captain regarding the situation.
Anyway, the plane took off with us on board – thankfully. Mummy knew she was in the right and they were the ones who were unsure of the situation. And as it was only a 55 minute ride, they really didn’t have to be so concerned. And unlike the first leg, I sat extremely quietly under the seat. I was so quiet that Mummy was worried that I might have been dead!She nudged me! LOL!
We arrived in rainy Vienna, and we made our way slowly from the airport to the Inner City – can’t wait to get to the hotel to chill.May’s comments: Air travel with little dogs in cabin, like George is relatively straightforward with most European airlines – let them know, book them in, make sure their bags fit and they are under the limited weight allowance (with bag). When it is anything bigger, like Darcy, there are different opinions.
We would be travelling and everything seems fine until one personnel has an issue. From my various experiences from flying with Darcy or George – not one airline has a consistent policy. Someone says this and someone else says something else.
I’ve checked with various airlines and asked specifically regarding airline rules re: not regular small dog. They were all fine and no questions asked – and no one is supposed to ask you why you have need for an emotional support dog – as that’s infringing on privacy.
The first leg was as it should be – no questions asked, they all saw how big Darcy is and I had her in a bag once I entered Heathrow after security. The lounge had the same requirement and Darcy was absolutely fine being carried in a bag. And then one staff member seems to have a different opinion.
In the end, the staff of the second leg was quite apologetic as she saw how well Darcy behaved – was completely calm, stayed the whole time under the seat and did not move once. I think she over-reacted and when the captain gave us the ok to fly, she did not back-off, just made some minor concessions because it would then seem she was wrong. When we were getting off other passengers were nicely surprised there was even a dog (that big) on board the plane. This showed that there are no problems if your dog behaves accordingly.
That staff member suggested I go to the Austrian/Swiss Air desk to ask about getting Darcy a container for our return to Zürich. She was positive we would find a way to go back rather than for us to take the train. I was about to give in but thought I would not let one person defeat me and to check. Sure enough the staff at the desk said I was totally in the right. The problem was not her, just that she wasn’t properly briefed. And all airlines have different rules and even within each airline, the personnel on each plane can have differing opinions.
It’s always an adventure when flying with Darcy. But she is an amazing traveller. So calm, so quiet and goes with the flow. She walks through busy terminals with no fear, she can hold for hours until we get out to the open. And she always seem to know if there was a contentious situation. She goes very quiet and behaves impeccably. Once she has been through one situation – taking off where she might have been slightly nervous, but when she realises that nothing bad happened, she calms down and from then every take off and landing became familiar.
We have one more flight on the way back – can’t wait to get that over with and get on our fail-safe trains!