This post was inspired by a comment on Dog Jaunt’s Facebook page from reader Genny, who recently traveled with Eva, her Papillon, from Seattle to Michigan and back. She mentioned that although everything went smoothly, Eva did try digging through the bottom of her carrier during one take-off. That rang a bell with me, because on the past dozen or so flights we’ve taken, Chloe has scratched vigorously at the “door” of her carrier during take-off. Since she settles down as soon as the plane levels off, I’ve become convinced that something about the sound of the engines during take-off bothers her.
My solution so far has been to curl up in the crash position so I can stick a hand in Chloe’s carrier, tucked under the seat in front of me, and pat her during take-off. That works, though it must make the passengers around me wonder what I’m up to (I do explain what I’m doing to my seat-mates!). Genny pointed out, though, that Eva seemed to do better when she was seated farther away from the engines. For that reason, she recommends that anyone flying with an in-cabin dog choose a seat towards the front of the plane.
Here’s something else to consider: Several flights ago, we were seated directly over the wheels, and the noise they made when they were lowered surprised and upset Chloe (who had been snoozing). It was the only time I’ve ever seen her truly nervous on a plane. Again, my solution has been to assume the crash position as we’re starting our descent, so that I’m patting Chloe when the landing gear is lowered. I stay there until we’re taxiing, so I can reassure her during the loud thrust-reversal part of touchdown.
Since the wheels are located under the engines, Genny’s advice — choose a seat towards the front of the plane — would help with both problems. Thank goodness for clear-headed readers! I’ll make a conscious choice to sit closer to the front of the plane on our next few flights, and see if it improves Chloe’s comfort level.