In First Class Would You Rather Sit Next To A Dog Or A Baby?

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I recently wrote a post about Faking Disabilities So Emotional Service Animals Can Fly With You. Well, on a recent flight, I had the opportunity to experience sitting with an emotional service animal first hand. As we were getting ready to board the flight, I noticed a large Labrador Retriever on a lease waiting to board next us. We were sitting in First Class as a family (2 adults and 2 kids.) The dog was also a First Class passenger. I overheard the flight attendant asking the owner what type of service animal the dog was. She specifically asked, “is he a physical support animal or emotional support?” The response was emotional. So, this brings me to this question, In First Class Would You Rather Sit Next To A Dog Or A Baby?

In First Class Would You Rather Sit Next To A Dog Or A Baby?

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Photo By The Weekly Flyer


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Photo By The Weekly Flyer

Bottom Line

I’m sure that the answers to this question will vary drastically by person. I, in all honesty was really worried to see this large dog board and sit close to us in First Class. I had no idea what to expect about how this animal would react to the flight, strangers, food being served or kids. I quickly learned that this dog was extremely well behaved and I never heard a peep out of him. If you want to know my answer to this question, I would rather sit next to a baby. I am not a big dog person. And our kids were also quiet as could be and also did not make more then a quiet peep the entire flight. So, in this instance all was well with this flight.

What do you think about emotional support animals flying next to you on a flight? Are you more nervous when you see a large animal board a flight or a baby?

Editorial Note: Opinions, analyses, reviews or suggestions expressed on this site are those of the author’s alone, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed.

About The Weekly Flyer

The Weekly Flyer writes about travel from a business traveler perspective. He travels the world every week accumulating points and miles along the way.

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  1. I would much rather sit next to a dog. I have a small/medium size dog (just a bit too big to fit under the seat) and it is such a pain to travel with him. I would buy a revenue seat for him, he is a great traveler, and very well behaved. I’ve found that most dogs that are flying or traveling are very well behaved and better than most pax.

  2. I love dogs and don’t love babies, so it’s kind of a no brainer for me…but even objectively, dogs are way easier to control (chicken/ham/beef) than babies…and they seldom vocalize (shriek) like babies do.

    I get that some people are allergic, which is a legitimate bummer–you are always welcome to my stash of pills when I fly! To my knowledge there are no pills to make flying with a horrible baby better (ok, maybe Xanax, but even then, I’ll take the dog!).

  3. A parents version of their kids being well behaved compared to person who does not have any kids varies greatly. For parents its like living next to a railroad track, at first its noisy as hell but after a while you get used to the chaos and dont notice the noise anymore. Give me the dog any day of the week.

  4. DOG! All day long…….what’s the worst that can happen? If it made it all the way through security, it’s most likely not going to just go off and bite someone.

    A baby on the other hand, ignoring the bodily functions, the screaming………Sheesh! And the fact that the parents usually think it’s “ok” for the baby to spit up, drool, etc all over another human being is annoying. No, no it’s not ok.

    Now if we don’t ignore bodily functions, i’m not going to catch a cold or the flu from a dog, but very well could from that baby.

  5. Dog for sure. I’d say dog over baby or child. Dogs don’t kick the back of my seat or scream uncontrollably.

  6. Since I’m a dog person, I’ll say my opinion is biased. But that dog looks sweet. Service dogs are amazing. Actually ALL dogs are amazing but the humans that are responsible for them (or irresponsible) often determine their behavior.

    If a negligent pet owner brings a “service dog” onto the flight and it starts barking or won’t sit down, that’s on them. Not the dog. But if the animal is REALLY a service dog, it looks just like the photo above where the dog is not causing any issues and being extremely patient.

    Just like if a negligent parent brings their screaming little shithead on the flight, that is on them too. Thank goodness for noise-cancelling earphones. No, I don’t have kids. Yes, I’m a jerk. 😀 But I’m a jerk with nice noise cancelling earphones.

  7. I hope all the folks above who said “dog” are cool with Social Security and the economy being screwed because dogs aren’t going to be paying taxes.

    To me the breakdown is this:

    Dogs – some legitimate support animals and 90% lying, self-entitled a-hole dog owners.

    Baby – mostly people trying to be good parents with some that don’t do anything to keep their kid quiet.

    I guess the future of America is more and more self-entitled, overly-important a-holes. Yay! Go ‘Murica!

  8. Agree with you, AnonCHI – Good point. While I am a dog lover, it all comes down to two things:

    For service animals, there are many that need them. I have a ton of respect for those animals and will do whatever I can to assist someone in need of one. Unfortunately the whole “disability” thing is abused so much. I wait to board Southwest flights (since I am near BWI) and see 10-20 people who have pre-board sleeves. Some are legitimate, others are just people who game the system. It makes me sick. When I ask the flight attendant, they say, “We aren’t allowed to ask questions.”

    For people with babies, I understand you need to travel – you need a break. But there are responsible parents and there are parents that think their little obnoxious screaming kid is the cutest thing in the world. “Oh, look – it just shit all over the airplane seat! SO adorable! I think I will leave it as a gift so others can experience how cute it is.” That might be a bit extreme – but you get the picture.

    As far as social security — we’re getting into a whole new discussion here. Since I am near Baltimore, which is the armpit of Maryland, I see plenty of people with multiple dogs and babies that can barely take care of themselves and my tax dollars have to pay for them. The world is going to hell.

  9. After a 10 hour flight yesterday with two children sitting across the aisle please give me a dog…please!

  10. In reality, neither.

    I am allergic to pet dander and I do not want to drug up to “try” to deal with it. I am also afraid of large aggressive dogs and do not like smelling doggy breath.

    Babies can be temperamental and parents can decide that I should understand and just deal. I would understand more if I saw a concerted effort being made to help the baby, but I have seen parents block out the noise (because they are accustomed to it) and go on about their business.

    But since I have no rights (everyone else does), I would get stuck with both and told to go to coach if I did not like it. And then that would be a middle seat where both parties decided to muscle me out of the armrests.

    And because I would not want to wrestle for an armrest, I would deal with the dog despite everything I said. 🙂

  11. Personally I wouldn’t mind the dog. I have flown LAX-OGG in FC with a dog in the row behind me. the dog didn’t make a peep the whole flight. That usually can’t be said for a baby on a 5 hour flight. Babies need food, soothing, to be played with. A dog who is a frequent air traveler like the one I few near, requires much less. The odds of a baby screaming for any number of reasons is far more likely than the dog being an issue.

  12. Even the most questionable “service/support” animal is likely trained in some way. @AnonCHI. Question was not which would you count on to support you in old age.

  13. Last week, we sat in two business seats of the last row departing Buenos Aires at 10PM and arriving in Houston at 5:30 AM. There were two young kids taking turn crying and screaming in economy class throughout the flight, except for two hours before descending. I found adults who fly with kids are quite selfish when they fail to keep the kids under wrap. Most parents strongly believe that their kids are gifted, talented and well behaved. They need to travel with their kids in the car until they won’t behave unruly before subjecting the public to their kids. I did not travel by plane or dine out before my kid turned four. Other people pay for their space in public and deserve tranquility and peace. As for these young kids will become tax paying citizens, I live in central CA for more than a decade without knowing a single person who works full time. And they don’t fit in my tiny world.I kid you not. Fortunately, residents in Silicon Valley and southern CA support the population in central CA. Everything starts at home and when kids turn out naughty, they reflect poorly on their parents’ child rearing ( or parenting skill).

  14. Dog any day…they rarely make a sound and you can’t catch a cold from them…not to mention they are amazing animals.

    Babies….don’t get me started…still have PTSD from 9 hour flight with screaming child the ENTIRE flight.

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