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Dogs and Cats. . .and Babies

January 19, 2015

Magdalina. That was her name. And she was four months old. I met her and her slightly stressed mother in Minneapolis. I had seat 8A. Mother and daughter were in 8B.

You’re welcome to have the window if you’d like.

You don’t mind?

Not at all.

Magdalina didn’t really say much. Well, she was vocal, but I think it translated as “Feed me!”

Some people stress a lot about babies on planes. And it’s not always the baby’s parents who do. I’ve never been a nervous traveller. And I like to think that I have a more than usual share of empathy. Having survived traveling with 13 children will do that for you.

My wife and I travelled to India ten years ago to bring home a daughter. Our daughter was 18 months old at the time. She was fine if my lovely wife held her, but would absolutely howl if I held her, or even if my wife put her down. It’s easy to understand why. Two strangers who speak a different language and look different from her show up and take her away from everything she ever knew.

The trip from New Delhi, India to Seattle, WA took nearly 36 hours total. The longest leg in the air was 15 hours. Think about that. Fifteen hours with an infant that will not allow you to set her down. We flew Singapore airlines who provided a bassinet that attached to the bulkhead. Our daughter wanted nothing to do with it.

She finally fell asleep after several hours and we were able to lay her very carefully on the seat next to us for a few hours of rest. So the prospect of sitting next to Magdalina for a 2 hour trip from Minneapolis to Richmond, VA didn’t bother me a bit.

The Twin Cities to Richmond was actually the second leg of my trip. The first was from Salt Lake City to Minnesota. As we were queuing in the jet way I overheard another passenger,

I’m terribly allergic. I cannot believe they allow it.

Well, she’s typically no trouble and. . .

Well, I’ve been on other flights and it’s caused an issue!

Imagine my surprise when I ended up as the middle seat between these two women. And the point of contention? A cat. One woman was transporting her cat.

I’ve never seen a cat on a plane. Even today, I still haven’t seen it. The cat never left the duffle bag carrier. I barely heard the cat.

So, do you drug her before you fly?

I used to, but then I forgot to one time and she acted exactly the same.So I quit.

The allergic lady ended up switching seats with someone further back. I like cats, but it wouldn’t have mattered since the woman could have been transporting a bag full of books on cats for all the fuss the actual cat made. The guy on the aisle asked her about the cost.

So, do you have to pay extra to bring a cat?

Yes. Actually it’s quite a bit more. It used to be $75, but they recently raised it to $100.

Apparently she travelled with the cat quite a bit.

The dog last month wasn’t nearly as inconspicuous. I was coming back from my friend’s wedding in Seattle when a guy came walking down the aisle with a dog. This wasn’t a “pocket dog.” It looked like a Chesapeake.

(Photo credit:

He and his owner had the seat behind me. There were plenty of bumps on the back of my seat as the dog got comfortable. I thought, “Oh, boy. This is going to be a challenge.”


It’s 90 minutes from Seattle to Salt Lake. That dog didn’t make a peep. He didn’t seem to move a muscle. As we touched down in Salt Lake and taxied to the gate several of us commented on what a good traveller he was. Looking over my shoulder I added,

I rarely lean my seat back any more. But, today especially there was no way I was going to.

I can’t raise my hands right now. But, if I could, I’d high five you.

Travel is stressful enough. When someone needs to take their baby, be they human, feline or canine, the least I can do is try to make it a little easier for them. Especially since it doesn’t cost me a thing to be a little accommodating.

Rodney M Bliss is an author, columnist and IT Consultant. His blog updates every weekday at 7:00 AM Mountain Time. He lives in Pleasant Grove, UT with his lovely wife, thirteen children and one grandchild.

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