In the U.S. passengers often brought pets on board as ’emotional support animals’ either because they didn’t want to pay the traditional fee for a pet in cabin, or because they didn’t want to comply with size or behavior rules, keeping their animal in a ventilated bag under the seat in front of them.
Airlines allowed this out of fear over how the Air Carrier Access Act would be enforced, but with Department of Transportation support and now DOT regulations the Noah’s Ark effect has ended. It’s still possible to bring animals on board, but the paperwork and advance planning weeds out many of the cheaters.
In much of the rest of the world, where animals are even permitted on board, airlines have a much freer hand – but they’re still beholden to local rules and custom.
Abu Dhabi-based Etihad Airways is raising its pet in cabin fee from $200 to an incredible $1500 on October 15. This fee can be paid in cash or miles at a per-mile value of just below $0.007 (which is itself awful). And even if you buy a separate seat for the animal, you still pay the pet fee. That extra seat is even mandatory in premium cabins.
It costs $200 or 29,000 Etihad Guest Miles (or $1,500 or 215,000 Etihad Guest Miles from 15 October 2022) each way to travel with your cat or dog in Economy. If you are transiting, the combined price will apply.
If you’d prefer to book an adjacent seat travelling in Economy, you’ll be charged for the cost of an extra seat plus $1,500 each way.
If you’re travelling in Business or First, as there is no space available under the seat, you must purchase an extra seat for your pet. You’ll be charged for the cost of an extra seat plus $1,500 each way.
As punitive as Etihad’s rules are for bringing a dog or cat on board, they’re far more generous if you need to bring your falcon. On Etihad Airways Falcons Fly Free – you get a one falcon allowance in economy, and a two falcon allowance in business and first class.
Here they’re accommodating local conditions. Falcons are sort of like U.S. emotional support ponies, turkeys, and rabbits in that regard.
Folks two dudes just boarded my plane with emotional support falcons pic.twitter.com/lHABg8A7La
— The Wonton Don (@DonnieDoesWorld) March 29, 2019
If you find that you need more than your allotted one or two falcons, however, that can be accommodated either with extra seats or by chartering the aircraft.
(HT: Jonathan W)