There’s a cat on-board ?!?!

Have you ever taken a plane? Ever noticed that you were sharing the plane with a cat or dog, or even a few of each? Well, I most certainly have. Whenever I fly, I always try to be at the gate about 30 minutes or so before my flight and make sure I speak with the crew at the gate about my allergies. They are usually very understanding and accommodating and will offer to move me further away from pets, and/or let me know if there are any on the flight and which rows they are in. It is a nice relief when they say “no pets aboard this flight!” I always feel a little relief as I think our minds sometimes worry more than they should about these things.

Ok, ok, I did promise to share a story, so here it goes!

It was Christmas holidays and the snow was piling up in Victoria. For those who do not know Victoria, we don’t usually get much snow here in the winter. A few inches maybe, spread throughout the winter… A student at the University of Victoria at the time, I was trying to fly to Quebec to visit my family for the holidays. The local airport had grounded all planes and the probability of getting back to Montreal was looking slim. After some serious inquiry I scored a direct flight from Vancouver, on the mainland, over to Montreal. I grabbed my bags and taxied to the ferries… After a 2 hour ferry ride, cab ride, night in a hotel and a shuttle to the airport the next day, I was sooo excited to be at the gate, see my plane on time and no delays reported! I checked in at the gate, re-mentioned my severe allergies to nuts and asked if there were any cats or dogs on-board. The woman kindly had a look and then told me that there were several cats and dogs aboard. She mentioned the rows they were in and also said that she would have moved me to the front of the plane further away from them had there been an empty seat, but that due to the weather, the plane was booked solid and every seat was spoken for. They had even overbooked the flight!

I boarded the plane during the “pre-boarding” to make sure I had time to clean my seat and put on my mask before others boarded. Eventually the plane filled up and I explained to the man sitting next to me why I was wearing a mask. He did not believe me that there were pets aboard and I immediately asked whether he had allergies. Sure enough, he was fairly allergic as well. I offered him antihistamines, as I was well equipped for the flight home, and he just laughed. He said he’d be fine, so I didn’t push the subject. Within ~ 30 minutes of being on-board, he started sneezing and scratching his throat and I felt bad for him. Poor guy, spent most of the flight in the bathroom sneezing and coughing and well going through all the symptoms of an allergic reaction. When we landed in Montreal, I was soooooo relieved that I had worn my mask, because that could have been me. Had I not worn it, I would have been the one with the runny nose and sneezing! This flight was definitely my first appreciation of wearing a mask to fly or on any public transport for that matter. It is sooo not worth the symptoms to go without, in my mind.

That’s all folks. Story time is over for tonight.

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