New Zealand Couple Complains Of Assistance Dog On Singapore Airlines Flight
UPDATE (11 Sep): Singapore Airlines has clarified that the dog was checked in as an assistance dog, and that they were unable to move the couple to another seat within the same cabin as it was full.
The article has been updated with their full statement below.
When people splash the cash for a flight with our national carrier Singapore Airlines (SIA), they expect the impeccable service they’re known for.
Unfortunately, a couple from New Zealand said that experience was ruined as they had to sit next to a “farting” dog on an SIA flight.
They’re now asking for a refund for that leg of the flight.
Couple sits next to dog for 13-hour Singapore Airlines flight
Gill and Warren Press, from Wellington, boarded the SIA flight on 13 June, they told New Zealand news portal Stuff.
They were making the trip from Paris to Singapore en route back to New Zealand in Premium Economy seats.
Source: Singapore Airlines on Facebook
However, they were surprised to find out that they would be sitting next to a dog for the 13-hour flight.
Apparently, the passenger next to them had brought his emotional support dog.
Couple heard heavy snorting from dog
Mrs Press said she heard a “heavy snorting” noise and initially thought it was her husband’s phone.
However, they soon realised it came from a dog’s breathing on the floor.
According to the dog’s owner, the dog was with him as he gets anxious, but it was the dog that appeared to be in distress, she added.
When they asked the cabin crew for a seat change, they were told the only seats available were in the back row in Economy.
Dog starts farting on Singapore Airlines flight
About halfway through the flight, the dog had started farting, Mrs Press said.
Thus, the smell became intolerable, she added.
The dog also took up space in her husband’s legroom as it was too big to remain under its owner’s seat.
As it couldn’t be in the aisle and block the trolleys, the animal’s head ended up under Mr Press’ feet.
That position caused some of the dog’s drool to end up on her husband’s leg, Mrs Press griped.
Eventually, the couple managed to move seats to the front of the Economy cabin.
SIA apologises, offers gift vouchers
SIA had told them that they would hear from the airline over the incident.
However, after a week of silence, Mrs Press emailed their customer service team and got a reply two weeks later.
Apologising for the incident, SIA offered each of them a gift voucher worth S$100 that could be used on KrisShop, their e-commerce portal.
She pointed out that the amount didn’t correspond to the price difference between what they’d paid for Premium Economy seats, and the Economy seats they had to sit in for half the flight.
More than three weeks later, SIA emailed again to raise the compensation amount, offering each of them a travel voucher of NZ$200 (S$160).
But Mrs Press was still unsatisfied, wanting a full refund for that leg of the trip.
She said SIA hasn’t got back to them with an acceptable reply more than two months later.
SIA admits they didn’t notify couple beforehand
Mrs Press said she and her husband do like dogs, and even own one. But they should have been informed that they would be seated next to a dog in advance, they said, adding,
We didn’t receive the experience we paid for.
An SIA spokesman admitted that they didn’t notify the couple beforehand that they were seated next to a dog, saying,
We sincerely apologise that this did not occur in this case, and will work with our airport teams to ensure that this lapse does not occur in future.
The airline told Stuff they would continue to liaise directly with the couple over their feedback.
They also apologised again for “any inconvenience or distress” caused by their experience on the flight.
SIA clarifies dog was checked in as an assistance dog
According to an SIA spokesperson, the dog was checked in as an assistance dog and not an emotional support animal.
Assistance dogs are normally accepted for travel on board SIA flights as long as requirements are met.
Below is their statement in full.
Singapore Airlines (SIA) apologises to Mr and Mrs Press for their experience on board their flight from Paris to Singapore.
Assistance dogs are accepted for travel on board Singapore Airlines flights, as long as they meet our requirements to travel on board.
SIA endeavours to notify customers who may be seated next to an assistance dog prior to boarding.
In circumstances where customers seated next to an assistance dog request to be moved, we will assist to re-seat customers within the same cabin if space permits.
In this instance, we were unable to move Mr and Mrs Press within the same cabin as the Premium Economy Class cabin was full.
Our crew offered to move Mr and Mrs Press to two empty seats in Economy Class, which they accepted after take-off.
We are in contact with them to provide further necessary assistance on this matter.
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Featured image adapted from Stuff.co.nz.
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