Delta Airlines Treats Dogs Better Than People And Other Valentine's Day Airplane Horror Stories

While it seems that no one had a very nice trip this Valentine’s Day, things were especially bad for Lesley. She spent her entire day trying to get on a flight to LA for a job interview, only to have the flight canceled. She was loaded on and off planes, there was a large dog roaming around, the jetway broke, the flight crew had to be changed, it goes on and on and on.

Her story is honestly one of the worst we’ve ever heard. The NY Post did a little piece on it, but you have to read her entire email to Delta Airlines, which she cc’ed to us.

Lesley writes (to Delta):

To Whom It May Concern:

I am writing to express my extreme displeasure for the service I did (and did not receive) on February 14, 2007.

Due to the weather on February 14, I arrived at JFK at 8am, almost four hours early for Flight 1841 to LAX, set to leave at 11:46am. I called the status line several times between 7am and during my trip to the airport and was told repeatedly the flight was on time. The check-in area was a total zoo, with a line wrapped around the terminal. I was fortunate to have no baggage and after some searching, found the single terminal for self-check in (which did indeed give an option to check bags.) More of those terminals would have gone a long, long way to alleviate the crushing line.

Around 10:30am, the flight had its first plane/terminal change, from Terminal 2, to Terminal 28, in a completely different section of the airport. There was no announcement made, just a semi-periodical scroll on a message board.

After moving to Terminal 28, we were told the flight was now delayed to 12pm, which turned into 12:30, 1pm, 1:30pm, etc. Terminal 28 is located in a forgotten part of JFK, with no food available other than a tired sandwich cart. I’m sure Delta is very proud of having a Discovery Channel store in that area, but as it sat, empty, while the sandwich cooler was raided, perhaps that should have been rethought.

Around 1:30pm, it was determined our new plane had broken bathroom doors and would not be suitable to fly to LAX, necessitating another plane/gate change, this time down to gate 27. Again, there was no announcement made, just a scroll put up on a television screen. The passengers were left to find out for themselves.

In the midst of all this, a woman was permitted to walk her very large, barking, untrained, and uncrated dog around the terminal. It was made clear to everyone that she intended to bring the dog on board and let it roam free. Many people were concerned and did not wish to fly next to a large dog with no crate.

At 2pm, the pilot made an announcement about a mechanical problem with our new plane and we’d have to wait until it was fixed, at least 30 minutes. The only reason I heard it, is because I was standing right next to him at the time. The PA system was so bad; the announcement was inaudible and garbled. When people rushed to the podium for clarification, the pilot returned to the plane, leaving myself and several other passengers to spread the word.

They finally made a boarding announcement at 2:30. However, we were not permitted to board until all the dogs in cargo and the one in the gate area had been walked. I can’t even begin to describe how angry and upset many, many passengers, including myself, became after seeing that. It’s inexcusable that Delta is placing animals ahead of people on their priority list, especially in a situation like this. It’s awful and insulting and possibly one of the worst things that could have happened at that moment.

We finally boarded at 2:45 and that’s when this ill-fated trip went from the sublime to the ridiculous.

At 3:15pm, when we were supposed to be pushing back, the jetway broke, refusing to detach from the side of the plane. On the other side, a luggage cart had slid underneath the plane, unable to finish loading bags, and was now stuck in snow. Our plane was now actually physically prevented from moving.

At 4pm, neither problem had been fixed, but we were being repeatedly assured that as soon as they were, we’d taxi out to the runway, get de-iced and be on our way. We were also informed that every other airline had canceled their flights hours ago, a Jetblue plane was currently frozen to the runway and ever better, if we didn’t get going before 6pm, the flight attendants would go into illegal overtime and would not be permitted to fly.

At 5:30, with both the jetway and luggage cart situations finally fixed, we tried to push back from the gate. We could not, as both the plane and tug was now also stuck in the snow and unable to move. At this point, passengers were pleading to be let off the plane and for Delta to follow the other airlines and cancel the flight. We were told that should we get off the plane, we’d forfeit our seat and no flights were available until at least Saturday. Additionally, should the plane take off, all the luggage was going to LA no matter what, and wouldn’t be returned for at least two business days (as this was Wednesday, the bags would be gone for over five days when returned.) The airline also refused to deliver the missing bags to homes, forcing people to return to JFK to retrieve them.

By 6:10pm, we attempted to push back from the gate once more. We jerked to a stop, because in the time it took for us to start moving, a Lufthansa plane had jumped the de-icing line, and was now in out spot, on the runway, with no de-icing trucks available. We couldn’t move until that plane had been towed away and the trucks located.

Which didn’t matter because at 6:20, our flight crew went illegal and were no longer permitted to fly.

Another crew was located, but they were also stuck on a plane on the runway, with no gate to taxi to. In order to get to us, the plane was to be towed to a parking lot, and the crew bused in. At this point, the pilots chose to inform us they had 90 more minutes before they too went illegal, and Delta still refused to cancel the flight. We were completely out of options and hope of getting out tonight if we didn’t get underway by 8pm, as there were no more flights beyond ours for the night. We were essentially being held hostage by Delta’s whims and refusal to end this nightmare at 2pm when it was clear this flight had way too many problems to continue. There’s absolutely no excuse for playing with people lives like this.

At 6:30pm, the jetway was brought back down to the plane, and the captain told everyone to get off. However, the gate agents and tower disagreed, and wouldn’t permit us to get off. Until a decision could be made, we were to sit on the plane, with the door open, and the weather frigid. We were told that should ANYONE got off the plane, it would become unsecured, and we’d all have to get off, be re-screened and re-boarded.

Perhaps the worst, most insulting part of the evening came next. Although we were banned from leaving the plane, Delta permitted the woman with the dog to go out on the jetway to walk the dog. Despite protestations from the entire plane, the flight and gate crew decided once again, the dog’s comfort was more important than any human on board. A woman with a toddler pleaded to get off the plane to get baby food and she was refused. There are no words to describe how horrible this situation had now become and this was the ultimate insult.

It was finally determined that it would be best to let everyone off the plane to get something to eat and use the bathrooms while they figured out this complete catastrophe.

Ordered not to leave the terminal, we sat there and watched the pilots collect their bags and coats and leave the plane. Delta still refused to cancel the flight.

Finally, at 7:30, they admitted defeat, and with no flight crew or pilots, ended the nightmare and canceled the flight. Over 150 people waited on line to try and get home and were being informed that not only were their no flights until at least Friday, Delta wouldn’t be providing hotel rooms or transportation or anything, not even a food voucher, for stranded passengers, blaming the entire situation on weather, completely ignoring the multitude of mechanical and customer service failures. I was forced, once again, to wait on line behind a dog, to get my tickets canceled and refunded.

Being delayed due to weather is one thing, but the snow stopped at 12:30pm. Delta had every opportunity to cancel the flight and instead, chose to hold over 150 people in limbo. There was no attempt to plow the runways or make alternate plans or help passengers in any way. Between allowing dogs more comfort than people, and refusing to do anything to help the situation, Delta has sent a clear message to their customers that they simple do not matter, no matter what the situation. Had the flight been canceled earlier in the day, it’s entirely possible that at least half of Flight 1841’s passengers would have been rebooked for same-day travel, either on other airlines or from LaGuardia or Newark. There were many children on board who are now missing school and sleeping in hotels (or worse, the Delta terminal), because the airline was stubborn. This goes so far beyond wanting to get people to their destination and is now firmly in the corner of refusing to do the right thing.

Due to Delta’s complete disregard for their passengers, I’ve had to forfeit a job in LA. Is Delta going to compensate me for that? Are they going to apologize for placing an animal’s priorities over paying customers? People need to know that Delta is only concerned with their bottom line, to the complete and total detriment of their customers (and inflight crew that was also forced to suffer.)

I am sending this email on Thursday February 15, 2007, as well as sending it via registered mail on Friday, February 16, 2007 to Delta CEO Gerald Grinstein. Delta has five business days from the receipt of this letter to contact me with both a formal, written (not emailed) apology and some sort of compensation for this entire, avoidable mess.

I await your response in this matter.


(Photo: JoSchmaltz)


Edit Your Comment

  1. faust1200 says:

    I’m not sure why a dog was let in the cabin like that but I’m sure if the crew thought you were going to take a dump on the floor of the plane they would have let you off too.

  2. acambras says:

    It would be interesting to find out more about this whole dog situation. Not that it makes things any better, but was the owner flying 1st Class? Exactly how big was this dog? What is Delta’s policy about animals in the cabin (animal size, how much extra $ the passenger has to pay, etc.)? I imagine that if this dog had been some sort of service dog that it would have been obvious.

    Maybe since it was a NY to LA flight, the dog was some sort of “celebrity” dog, like Lassie or Rin Tin Tin?

    I’d be pretty pissed if I saw a dog getting the VIP treatment during all of this — I’m wondering what the details were.

  3. Keep talking...I'm listening says:

    Gotta wonder why Delta is in dire straits.

  4. Matthew says:

    There’s no such thing as a pleasant domestic air travel experience anymore, but even in the context of the million indignities I’ve suffered in different airports at the hands of different airlines, my recent experience is that Delta is the FUCKING WORST.

  5. ABBailey1981 says:

    Damn! I like to see someone rip into the Airlines and more so the once almighty Delta. I sure hope you get what you deserve.

  6. forgeten says:

    what is the reason for the airlines not letting passengers off the airplane? It seems to have happened quite alot in the past couple months. And doesn’t that constitute kidnapping? I could see them them saying “you can’t leave and reboard” ,legally atleast, but not you can’t leave.

  7. Mark says:

    It’s clear that Delta SUCKS (… ) … it’s also clear that this woman didn’t proofread her letter before sending it.

  8. Sadly there are no laws concerning letting people eat or walk during transit, but extremely strict laws concering animals getting food/exercise/water during transit. I am guessing (just guessing) that Delta was obeying the law on that one. Not that that makes the story any less horrific.

    Also, I’ve never seen a plane allow a dog on unless it was a) a service dog or b) small enough to fit in a carrier under the seat. I’d love to know how this woman got an apparently gigantic dog on the plane.

  9. strandist says:

    Wait a minute… they let the passenger walk the dogs on the jetway? As in, let a dog do it’s business in an enclosed area through which hundreds of people walk each day? I think I just threw up a little bit in my mouth.

  10. LeRainDrop says:

    Some airlines do permit 1 or 2 dogs in the cabin if they are very small, but the customer usually pays a lot of money for this privilege, sometimes as much or more as for the passenger ticket itself. There is no free ride for Rex.

  11. “but the customer usually pays a lot of money for this privilege, sometimes as much or more as for the passenger ticket itself.”

    We paid $80 to fly with a cat, not terrible. The rules for all the airlines we checked was that cats and dogs could fly but had to fit in an approved carrier that would slide under the seat. (Also this meant the pet was your carryon.) I think you could probably only get up to about a 25-lb dog before they wouldn’t fit in the approved carriers.

    There are also stringent rules and regulations on how much room the pet has to have in the carrier (has to be able to turn around and some other stuff) but I saw nobody checking that.

  12. OwenJKatz says:

    The dog who was allowed in the cabin was likely a “therapy dog,” one whose owner has medical “reason” to have the dog accompany her. And I agree with Faust1200 in that the dogs obviously can’t take themselves to the bathroom, hence their preferential treatment.

    However, I am baffled that–according to Lesley–“Due to Delta’s complete disregard for their passengers, I’ve had to forfeit a job in LA.” What kind of potential employer would be so callous as to not give her another opportunity to interview? Maybe this whole incident was a blessing in disguise… who would want to work for such an insensitive and unreasonable organization?

  13. MeOhMy says:

    Once again – top priority is ensuring that as many flights as possible can be listed as “ON TIME” even if that means passangers sit on the tarmac for days on end. In the case of severe weather it’s being able to minimize the number of cancelled flights. Taking care of the customer falls much farther down the list.

    Sad state of affairs.

  14. crayonshinobi says:

    Maybe since it was a NY to LA flight, the dog was some sort of “celebrity” dog,…

    XD I cracked up reading this, but it’s the only logical explanation I can find for the special treatment the lady and her dog got!

    That sounds like a horrifying experience. I also feel for Lesley’s loss of the job due to missing the interview. I hope her prospective employer gives her a second chance after this became public…I mean, a New York Times and Consumerist article has got to be a good enough “note from the doctor” as it were.

  15. muddgirl says:

    When my (American Airlines) flight was cancelled (due to a combination of weather delays and mechanical delays), I was scheduled for the next convenient flight to my location. Others recieved vouchers for hotel rooms and flight vouchers for any airline with flights to that destination. It was a logisitical nightmare, but in the end almost everyone was inconvenienced but ultimately satisfied.

    Delta’s weather excuse was bullshit. Plain and simple.

  16. dwarf74 says:

    I can’t stand Delta.

    I flew from a regional airport in Central Illinois to San Jose in October.

    My flight was delayed 3 times on my departure date, and ultimately cancelled. It was due to “weather,” however other airlines were flying to the same destinations and took off/landed just fine.

    I didn’t end up actually leaving until 28 hours after my planned departure date, thereby missing the first day of an extremely expensive training class. Delta couldn’t even get me there; they sent me on American and on United. My United flight wasn’t even properly entered and I needed to get assistance at the airport to actually get on the plane. This required me running around O’Hare for over an hour. I didn’t land until after the time that my rental car company closed and ended up having to pay my own way for a new rental car from a different company.

    On my trip back, my flight was delayed an hour. That was just enough time for me to miss my connecting flight – which was naturally the only plane on time this whole trip. This time, I was stuck for 6 hours until the next flight. That was delayed another 3 hours before it finally took off.

    All in all, I had 33 hours of my life more or less wasted due to Delta’s incompetence.

    I’m never letting my company book me on Delta again.

  17. Roosh says:

    cliff notes?

  18. Chaoticfluffy says:

    @Roosh: Delta holds passengers and their luggage hostage on a not-yet-off-the-ground flight they insist on not canceling for seven+ hours. Large, rude dog, however, is allowed off to do its business in the jetway. Letter-writer pissed, demands compensation and/or apology from Delta.

  19. muddgirl says:

    Another thing about my recent American Airlines flight – on multiple occasions, the board would list “On Time” as the status. However, on talking with gate agents, they would notify my that the flight was indeed delayed due to delays earlier in the day. If they know the flight is delayed, why not list it as delayed?

  20. Maulleigh says:

    That is one of the worst travel horror stories I’ve ever read. I don’t understand her ire at the whole dog thing. It’s cruel and inhumane to not let a dog do its business; technically, she could use the toilet at any time.

    There should definately be a fixed amount of time that the plane sits on the runway before it gets cancelled. If the crew wasn’t going to be illegal, how long would they have really sat there? That’s frightening. I’d rather go through security again than sit for hours and hours and hours.

  21. NeoteriX says:

    i hate pets. this is all.

  22. Delta’s policy is $50 each way (which would be $100 round trip) for a dog. I have seen full-sized dogs allowed in the cabin, but they were clearly service dogs (but they were trained, as any service dog should be).

    My problem would not have been with allowing the dog off the plane to go to the restroom (people can use the bathroom on the plane, dogs can’t).

    My problem would have been with the airport/airline dropping the ball and holding me hostage that long. Also, the airline policy is that if the reason you were delayed was due to weather, you won’t be compensated. There obviously were mechanical reasons the plane was delayed, but the airlines is going to say it was weather because when they tried to push back at 5:30, the weather stopped that from happening. Also, because they couldn’t get their other crews there (due to weather).

    On another note, I am confused as to why the job held it against the woman (the entire country knows the northeast is having horrific snowstorms) and didn’t allow her the opportunity to reschedule for the job interview. I feel it probably wasn’t the airlines fault, and I personally wouldn’t want to work for a company that completely ignored the extreme circumstances that occured here.

    Regardless, Delta should follow Jetblue’s example and refund everyone on that flight and give them all a free flight in the future (getting the news involved always seems to help that cause).

  23. acambras says:

    Here’s the Delta info, from their website:

    Pets As Carry On
    Your pet can travel with you in the cabin for a one-way fee of $50 (to be collected at check-in) when traveling within the United States (except Hawaii), Canada, Mexico, the Caribbean, and Bermuda. Pets permitted in the cabin include dogs, cats, birds, ferrets, rabbits, hamsters and guinea pigs. Monkeys, pot-bellied pigs, reptiles, frogs, mice, rats, sugar gliders, and spiders are not permitted. The following restrictions apply:
    Your pet must be small enough to fit comfortably in a kennel under the seat directly in front of you. Maximum carry-on kennel dimensions are determined by your flight. You must contact Delta Reservations to determine the appropriate kennel size.
    Your pet must remain inside the kennel (with door secured) while in a Delta boarding area (during boarding and deplaning), a Delta airport lounge, and while onboard the aircraft.
    Your pet must be at least 8 weeks old.
    You may not carry on more than one pet.
    Your pet in-cabin counts as one piece of carry-on baggage.
    If you’re traveling to Hawaii, your pet won’t be able to go with you in the cabin, and other restrictions may apply. See Pets to Hawaii for more information.
    Also, Delta limits the number of pets per flight to:

    Class Number of Pets Allowed
    First Class 1
    BusinessElite® 1
    Main Cabin 2

    Pets are accepted on a first-come, first-serve basis. Call Delta in advance at 800-221-1212 to arrange to bring your pet on board.

    So I’m wondering why the bigass dog was allowed to travel in the cabin. If it’s a service dog, wouldn’t it be prominently identified as such?

    And I’m wondering what the hell a sugar glider is.

  24. Tallanvor says:

    Can you imagine Delta telling a child they had to let his dog die because taking proper care of it would have further inconvenienced the passengers?

    If there’s one redeeming thing Delta did, it was take care of the animals on the flight. I know how much Delta sucks, and I know how much it sucks to be stuck in an airport and on a plane for hours (I’ve been there). But I also know how nerve wracking it is to have your pets in the baggage compartment of an airplane. –You can’t do anything for them, and you can only take the flight attendants word that they even made it on the plane!

    Delta should apologize and provide proper compensation for the non-weather related delays, but they definitely should not apologize for looking out for the pets on the flight.

  25. nick says:

    It’s clear to me now what you have to do to receive preferential treatment the next time you’re on a domestic flight.

    You need to show up at the airport in a dog suit.

  26. Acambras: A sugar glider is like a rat/squirrel with wings…it glides…see here:

  27. Hoss says:

    What kind of job is she applying for? Must be a lawyer — come to the point young lady… Thank gawd for the Post doin the abbridged version.

  28. loquaciousmusic says:

    Last March, I was set to leave on an early-morning Aeromexico flight from Boston to Mexico City via Atlanta. I arrived at Logan at 3:30 a.m., hours before the flight was due to depart. I was the only one there that early — the maintenance guys weren’t even around, and there was only one coffee kiosk open. So I sat by the Aeromexico terminal and waited. 4:30 came around, then 5:30…There was no one at the terminal. I picked up the courtesy phone to see if I could rouse someone, but none of the CSRs were on duty until at least 7:00 a.m. I tried calling Aeromexico on my cellphone, but no dice.

    Finally, at 6:45, I noticed that there were airline agents at the Continental counter a few steps away. I knew that they would probably be unwilling or unable to help me, but I figured I would ask anyway. If I didn’t make this flight, I’d miss my connection; if I missed my connection, the first vacation I’d taken in five years would be one day shorter. Fortunately and surprisingly, the Continental attendant took pity on me and told me that he’d look up my flight number in the airport-wide system.

    “That’s funny,” he told me. “Your flight doesn’t show up in the system.”

    “What do you mean?” I asked. “I have the e-ticket receipt from Expedia right here!”

    “Hang on,” he said, while he clicked a few more buttons. “Aaah, here we go. It looks like your flight isn’t on Aeromexico after all. It’s on Delta.”

    I showed him the receipt which clearly said Aeromexico all over it — and nothing about Delta. “How was I supposed to know?” I asked.

    “I don’t know,” he replied, “but you’d better get your ass over there. The flight is boarding!”

    So I ran. I ran like I’ve never run before. When I arrived at the Delta window (which was all the way across the airport), I couldn’t use one of the self-serve kiosks to log in since the flight was boarding. And the Delta line was long, long, long. So I did what any self-respecting eighth-grade teacher would do: I went to the First Class line, which was empty, and held my breath.

    “Do you have a First Class ticket?” the attendant asked. She was smarmy. I wasn’t in the mood.

    “No, I don’t,” I said, “but I’d be willing to pay for one if it’ll get me on this flight!”

    “I’m sorry,” she said, icily turning her back. “If you’re not a First Class passenger, I can’t help you.”

    “I really, actually hope you can,” I told her. “You see, nowhere on my ticket, on my boarding pass, or on my itinerary does it say anything about me flying with Delta. In fact, this flight isn’t even up on the board. I’m not an idiot. This one isn’t my fault this time.”

    She turned around and took the receipt from my hands. “That’s really strange, honey,” she said. It looks like someone screwed up.”

    “Yes, yes! Can you help me?!”

    “C’mon, honey,” she said, jumping the counter. “We’re gonna get you on that flight!” She ushered me to the security line and pushed me in front. “Get him on the plane!” she commanded the security officers. “He’s going to miss his flight!”

    I turned around to thank her, but she was already racing back to her counter. “Good luck, honey!” she yelled over her shoulder.

    The trip to Mexico was wonderful.

  29. cepx says:

    Scary story, but just a note. The writer might want to look up the word “sublime” in the dictionary. I don’t think it’s what she meant when she wrote: “that’s when this ill-fated trip went from the sublime to the ridiculous”.

  30. LawyerontheDL says:

    Oh dear, Lesley apparently REALLY dislikes dogs. Delta did act like a bunch of yahoos and the whole letting a big dog free on a plane is strange to say the least. However, criticizing Delta for taking care of animals in transit is downright nasty. Unlike you, Lesley, they cannot bitch and moan ad nauseum and write long winded whiny letters. And by the way, the next time you have a job interview that important to you – how about checking the weather forecast and flying out a day ahead? News Flash: Delta didn’t lose the job for you honey – you did.

  31. B Borrman says:

    The dog, if it was as big as she is implying, was a service dog. No pet too big to fit under the seat can get on a plane without it being a medical necessity.

    And they walked the dogs before boarding the aircraft because the dogs have no bathroom option in the cargo hold while flying cross country for six hours.

    Delta’s refusal to compensate these passengers is inexcusable. Yes, weather was the cause, but this is an exceptional situation and the airline should have acted accordingly.

    That said, so people know, airlines will do almost anything to try and avoid canceling flights right now. It’s not about on time, its about capacity.

    Cancel one flight to LAX when every flight to LAX is 90% full and most of the people on the canceled flight won’t be getting there for three to five days.

    Air travel is the worst industry in the world, and no one, NO ONE, has figured out how to do it right consistently.

  32. FLConsumer says:

    I’m too young to remember, but when the airlines were regulated, did this type of shiat happen? If not, let’s start regulating the airlines again. The JetBlue incident earlier this week, plus the Northworst incident last year makes me believe that we need to take passengers’ health and safety into consideration, not just throwing them in a tin can and dumping them out at the next airport. The airlines have shown that they’re incapable of doing this on their own. I’m not one to normally favor gov’t regulation, but if the airlines won’t do it, someone has to. It’s not like consumers have a choice at this point. Unless you’re flying international, you’re stuck with crappy airlines.

  33. Chris says:

    There’s so much hyperbole and canine hatred in this message, I can’t figure out what happened. She never actually says that the big, mean dog was in the cabin. She says “it was made clear to everyone that she intended to bring the dog on board and let it roam free” (a statement so vague and speculative that it’s useless).

    “Many people were concerned and did not wish to fly next to a large dog with no crate.” Again, did she take a survey, or is she just bolstering her story with assumptions that everyone agreed with her.

    Maybe the dogs were (sensibly) being allowed out of their crates underneath the plane, or some of the in-cabin small dogs were taken off (I’d vastly prefer that to a dog messing in his carrier before a long flight)

    It sounds like a horrible, horrible travel experience, but one that Delta is about 3% responsible for (as far as I know, airlines don’t control food offerings in the terminal, public address system volume, or deicing – let alone major snowstorms).

  34. Trai_Dep says:

    I recall Soviet Union era stories of Aeroflot being a nightmare. I’ve flown on Vietnamese planes (cute! with propellers and bagged lunches and everyone wildly cheering as the plane lifts off (relief or excitement, I’m not sure and didn’t want to ask)).

    Congrads, US airline industry. Between you and TSA (and your not showing some backbone on behalf of your customers), you’ve made us pine, unrequited, for those wonderful days when communists ran everything!

    Think we should get a petition going: every US senator, congressmen and WH staffer not 5 heartbeats away from the Presidency has to fly commercial. Coach. Bet that fix everything within three weeks.

  35. questionthemark says:

    The exact same thing happened to me almost one year ago to the day at JFK with Jet Blue. Minus the dog.

    I was stuck on the runway for 6 hours. Total time at JFK was 24 hours, and I didn’t even get on a flight. Ended up taking AMTRAK. Haven’t flown since. We didn’t get much media coverage and Jet Blue gave me a 80 dollar travel voucher good for a year. I believe it is now expired. While weather was a problem, the biggest problem was Jet Blue’s employees not knowing their asses from their elbows.

  36. questionthemark says:


    take it from someone who’s had a similar experience. They fucked up. I’m in NYC right now, and the weather was not that bad. At a certain point they just refused to cut their losses and it bit them in the ass. Of course the weather was not their fault, but the weather was predicted and should have been planned for. I’m from Buffalo, and this sort of stuff never happens there because Buffalo plans ahead.

  37. not_seth_brundle says:

    If Lesley’s interview was for a writing or editing position, she should be thanking Delta for saving her the trip.

  38. zibby says:

    Bottom line about the dog thing: If the owner was allowed out to walk it, the plane was as theoretically “unsecured” as it would have been if someone left the plane for any other reason. As soon as the dog walk happened, the only purpose behind not allowing anybody else to leave was apparently Delta’s bottom line – not security issues.

    Tell you something else, I was on a flight from New York to San Francisco next to a dog under a seat and it whined and defecated the whole time. Not so good, ya know?

  39. shad0ws says:

    Wow, I wonder what airline policy is for passengers who are either allergic to, or afraid of, dogs. I happen to be both; and personally, I’d demand an immediate and unconditional refund from any airline that expected me to share seating with one of those disgusting animals.

    I would furthermore point out that things like public smoking bans throughout the country have shown us that HEALTH concerns override individual freedoms, hands down—at least in this day and age. Since I consider my aversion to dogs a health concern, I see NO reason that they need to be allowed onto standard flights (with the POSSIBLE exception of clearly-marked and well-trained service dogs; but I’d argue that even that’s a gray area).

    Every dog owner seems to think they can cry “animal cruelty!!” and we’ll all bend over backwards to accommodate their barking, stinking, filthy equivalent of baggage. I, for one, say that if you’re enough of a loser to need your dog with you ALL THE TIME, you should (a) get yourself some damn counseling, because that’s a PROBLEM, and (b) find your own ways to live how you choose, without expecting the rest of the world to put itself out for you. Other people exist too, you know!

  40. Dogs should be treated better than people. When you lift a dog up from misery to fine living, he does not bite you.

  41. zibby says:

    Maybe so, maybe no Infinite. Doesn’t matter. As soon as a non-airline employee was allowed to leave the plane for any reason, it became “unsecured”. If what the author says is true, there was no valid reason to keep people cooped up after the dog had its walk.

  42. supedve says:

    A couple of things here:

    1. The Dog show had just ended in NYC around that time, so maybe it was some special show dog that the owner demanded special treatment for. Remember last year a winning dog got out of it’s cage and ran away, I don’t recall if they ever found it.

    2. While this dog was at least in the cabin, what about the other animals that were placed in the luggage holds and then left to sit for hours and probably not heated or A/C’d as needed. I wonder if there will be even more stories of animal mistreatment coming out from the long delays. If the customers who could interact with the staff were ignored, I can only imagine about passengers that were out of sight.

    3. What would of happened if someone had a heart attack or something that needed IMMEDIATE medical attention? Would medical personnel not be allowed on/off because it would inconvenience Delta and their boarding/security issues?

    I’m glad I just don’t have to fly anymore like I used to.

    As trai_dep says, we really need our elected officials to be stuck in a few of these messes and see what happens.

  43. Gopher bond says:

    “I was on a flight from New York to San Francisco next to a dog under a seat and it whined and defecated the whole time.”

    It defecated the whole time?!?! Wow, that’s got to be some sort of record. Where do you think it was hiding it all?

  44. pete says:

    I just heard on the radio this morning that people were held on a Jet Blue plane for 10 hours.

  45. billhelm says:

    kinda makes you wonder why they even bothered to try and get the flight out, and not just cancel it from the get go.

  46. zibby says:

    Well testes, you do have me on a technicality there. I should say that it defecated at fairly regualar intervals and was clearly nervous, sick, or both. The owner made some efforts to dispose of the waste, but let’s put it this way: I smelled it the whole time. Some may consider the scent pure heaven, but I found it less than sublime (heh).

    And yes, the frequncy/quantity was quite surprising.

  47. MeOhMy says:

    “Since I consider my aversion to dogs a health concern, I see NO reason that they need to be allowed onto standard flights (with the POSSIBLE exception of clearly-marked and well-trained service dogs; but I’d argue that even that’s a gray area).”

    Brilliant! Since I consider my aversion to all other human beings a health concern, I too see no reason why other human beings should be allowed onto standard flights (with the POSSIBLE exception of clearly-marked and well-trained pilots and attendants; but I’d argue that even that’s a gray area).”

    OK I’m joshing you but I think the crux of the story should not be the DOG it should be the HUMANS that were shut on the plane for HOURS for no good reason.

  48. Gopher bond says:

    I was going to say, I’d be whining too if I defecated constantly from New York to San Fran.

    Back to my frozen Rocky Mountain Oysters on a stick.

  49. wow, Shadows, that’s some serious angry you got there.

    “Wow, I wonder what airline policy is for passengers who are either allergic to, or afraid of, dogs.”

    $100 voucher or option to take a later flight is what I’ve heard/seen. I did see flight crew refuse to move a passenger one time when there were available seats and she didn’t want to be near the dog.

    +++Every dog owner seems to think they can cry “animal cruelty!!” and we’ll all bend over backwards to accommodate their barking, stinking, filthy equivalent of baggage.+++

    Animals are not “baggage.” Animals who fly in the holds of planes frequently DIE, because, like you and me, they require some oxygen and temperature control. Airlines cannot by law fly animals in the hold in certain weeather (very hot or cold). It’s a little alarming that you’re so cavalier about what is truly massive cruelty to these animals (flying in the hold).

    +++ I, for one, say that if you’re enough of a loser to need your dog with you ALL THE TIME, you should (a) get yourself some damn counseling, because that’s a PROBLEM,+++

    This “loser” flew with her cat because she was moving cross-country, and while I certainly “appreciate” the vicious cruelty of a prior owner who abandoned the cat outdoors because it was too much trouble to move with it, I don’t take on responsibility for another living thing with the intention of abandoning it. Particularly when it would be the second time.

    +++ and (b) find your own ways to live how you choose, without expecting the rest of the world to put itself out for you. Other people exist too, you know!+++

    I suggest you do the same.

  50. itchy feet says:

    I’m thinking Lesley is a cat person.

  51. Omri says:

    Whatever. I never thought I’d say this given my abject loathing for them, but good on Delta. I have no problem treating dogs better than some bitchy passenger flying to a job that’s so important they couldn’t do a phone interview, but not important enough to reschedule. Why not treat a dog better than most passengers?

    Things dogs have never done to me on a flight:

    (1) taken up their seat and half of my seat
    (2) reclined into me without warning KNOWING they were going to crush my laptop
    (3) kicked the back of my seat
    (4) brought a crying brat on the plane, often without purchasing a separate seat for said ill raised, spoiled offspring
    (5) taken an insufferable attitude with an overworked stewardess because, hey, they paid for coach and they’re entitled to be treated like royalty

    and so on

    Besides: given her petulance, her plodding prose, and the obvious fact that she kicks puppies… that interview was at best a low probability shot anyway.

  52. infinitysnake says:

    BTW, why aren’t you covering that Jet Blue story?!

  53. ursonate says:

    I’m just curious how Delta thought they were going to send all the luggage to LA without the passengers when it was clear that plane wasn’t going anywhere. Empty threats!

  54. doxielover says:

    I don’t know I’m questioning a lot of her letter. I’m thinking she may have stretched the truth a little. Snow or no snow there is no way that an airline would let a dog roam free in the cabin, or under any circumstances let a passanger wander around on the terminal. In the case of almost every airline the dog would have to be under 20 pounds to be allowed in the cabin so he couldn’t have been that “large”.

  55. Uurp says:

    In the future, Delta will be my very last resort. I hope someone from Delta reads this post.

  56. shad0ws says:


    um. it’s a little late (just saw your response), but what i was referring to — very clearly, or so i thought — was the presence of animals such as dogs on PASSENGER flights. in case you weren’t “in the know,” there are hundreds of thousands of flights on a monthly basis that do NOT involve passengers.

    that is to say—in our wonderfully modern age, things move from place-to-place, and even manage to do so without being crammed into the coach section of Delta airlines! i know—wow, right?!

    being as i (obviously) don’t own dogs, i don’t claim to know how owners “usually” take their animals from place-to-place. but given the number of dogs that myself and my friends have had to fly with in the past (read: NONE), i am inclined to imagine that there MUST be other means of transport. that, or other dog owners just (a) never move out of driving distance, or (b) give up their dogs upon doing so. & i don’t quite believe that.

    bottom line: you need your dog with you AT ALL TIMES (including in the passenger compartment of an airplane)? you’re a loser. period. it would be like me saying that i love my coffee table so much i couldn’t BEAR to fly without it. please. there are other ways, and PLENTY of them.

  57. petlover says:

    Well, I have to back Delta on this one. I have been searching for an airline that would actually allow me to take my dog in the cabin with me. He is a large dog but scared of strange people (therefore wouldn’t harm anyone) and would be scared to death to ride as cargo. I definitely would want him with me. I think you should be able to travel with your pet. And for those of you who are not pet lovers maybe you should check to see if the flight has dogs/pets scheduled on it if it is that much of a problem for you. It is obvious that those of you bitching about the dogs on the plane do not have pets. Perhaps you should try getting a pet and see how you feel about it then. I think it is cold hearted and selfish to be bitching about such a thing. Go Delta!!

  58. HeyBuffy says:

    I just had a nightmare experience with Delta just like MANY I have found on the internet (go to
    or [] or [] or []
    yeah, so I won’t get into it because actually the nightmares I’ve read may be equal or WORSE than MINE, but I do have to say I never heard of an airline that allows a passenger to bring a large dog into the cabin with them. That’s odd and certainly, that has peeked my interest. But I don’t know, they really do SUCK on all other accounts, and considering my dog is too old to travel with me now…so, I’d say…DELTA just SUCKS and should just put themselves out of misery. They are liars and evil. I think outsourcing to foreign countries customer service is a better concept than than the service Delta gives. They’re Canadian. that says it all!

  59. sydneestar says:

    Would you like a big steamy poop on the floor next to your seat, stinking up the place worse than your attitude???
    Frustrating day, understandably, but come on…
    I would much rather be riding with the dog…
    Ever heard of the americans with disabilities act?
    It was obviously a service dog, or it would not have been there…
    Sounds as if you are jealous of a dog, or being petty at the least, which only takes away from people identifying with your story.
    I’m sure the day sucked, but stop being so hateful. It’s not the dogs fault, nor is everything that happens to you someone else’s fault, which i’m positive is the case… you want a front page write up because someone didn’t kiss your butt, and cater to your wishes- and to top it off, someone else got their way in front of you… stop the presses!