by Berck

If a pilot ever offers to let your cat ride in the cockpit, you should thank him. We had a very full flight to Chicago a few days ago; during boarding the flight attendants told me that a woman brought a cat in a box that was too big to fit under the seat in front of her. I told them to tell her that the cat had to ride in the cargo compartment. The woman apparently agreed, and I noticed the ramp crew was being very disagreeable about stowing the cat. I walked down the steps to figure out what the problem was and the ground crew told me that there was no room in the aft cargo compartment for the cat. We have two other cargo compartments and while they are pressurized, they aren’t heated. It’s about -60ºC at altitude. That’s pretty cold for a cat without heat. I told him he would have to move some bags from the aft to the forward cargo compartment to make room for the cat. “They’re all full. I can make room for the cat, but only if I pull someone’s bag.”

That left only one place for the cat. I went up and asked my Captain if he minded if the cat rode with us. He didn’t seem to like the idea. I told him it was in a box, and I’m sure it wouldn’t bother us. He eventually consented, and I walked back down the steps. “The cat’s riding with me,” I said as I grabbed the cat carrier and stowed it in the cockpit. “Meow,” said the cat. Repeatedly. I assured the Captain we wouldn’t be able to hear it with our headsets on. “Meow,” added the cat. I was wrong. I could hear the cat very clearly during the entire taxi out and the takeoff roll. “80 knots. Checked. Meow. V1. VR. Meow. V2. Meow. Positive Rate. Meow. Gear up, speed mode. Meow.” And so on. In cruise, the cat was mostly quiet, but decided to let us know he was still there every time we encountered even the slightest turbulence.

I assured myself that it was worth it, because the passenger would be content that her cat was riding safely in cockpit and not the cargo compartment, and I try to do what I can for the passengers. When the flight was over and the passengers were getting off, all she said was, “I’ll take my cat now.” Not even a thank you. I can tell you where I’m going to stick the next cat…

2 Responses to “Meow.”

  1. Cynthia Says:

    The bitch cat owner may not have appreciated your good will, but the cat did…after all we don’t do good things to get thanked, we do them cause they are the right thing to do. It is NICE indeed if we get thanked. I am proud of you and so are Spot and Sukey, wherever they may be.

  2. Denise Says:

    Imagine the next cat owner to be Uncle Dave. I am sure HE would thank you!!! I know *I* would thank you. Not ALL cat owners are bitches – but you can guarantee most of them are…weird. :)

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