Dog Bites 2 on Flight: Should Pets be Allowed on Planes?

| by Kate Wharmby Seldman

A plane heading from Newark to Phoenix landed in Pittsburgh after a dog bit two people on board. The US Airways flight made the unscheduled stop when a passenger let a dog out of its carrier and the dog bit another passenger and a flight attendant.

US Airways spokesman Todd Lehmacher said it wasn't known how severe the bites were, but that the pilot decided to land in Pittsburgh to make sure everyone was OK.

US Airways's policy concerning pets is as follows: "1 small domestic dog, cat or bird per passenger is accepted in the passenger cabin for a $100 fee each way. Pets must remain inside their approved container under the seat directly in front of you."

Some people will undoubtedly take this story as an opportunity to insist pets be banned from aircraft passenger cabins, but it's an overreaction: Every day, thousands of small pets travel with their owners on planes, and the vast majority of those pets behave well.

The fault lies not with U.S. Airways, whose policy is very clear. This dog owner shouldn't have let his dog out of the carrier in an enclosed space like a passenger cabin. If you were a small animal and suddenly found yourself in a long metal tube hurtling along 35,000 feet from the ground, crammed with people who either wanted to pet you or stuff you back in your cage, you'd probably bite someone, too.