Couple seated next to ‘snorting, farting’ dog on long-haul flight gets $1,600 refund from SIA
A New Zealand couple on a Singapore Airlines flight who were seated next to a snorting, farting dog have been given a refund of about $1600.
Mrs Gill Press and her husband Warren bought premium economy tickets for a 13-hour flight from Paris to Singapore in June but were dismayed to find an “emotional support dog” in their row, seated on the floor.
Speaking to the New Zealand news outlet Stuff, Mrs Press, said the animal - which appears to be a French bulldog - farted and slobbered all over Mr Press’ legs.
The couple tried to stick out the flight in premium economy but in the end moved to the only available seats - in economy class - when the stink from their flatulent neighbour became unbearable, said Mrs Press.
A week later, Mrs Press e-mailed a complaint to the national carrier, sparking a three-month-long wrangle.
SIA had earlier offered the couple KrisShop vouchers worth $200, and travel vouchers worth $320, but Mr and Mrs Press said nothing short of a full refund would do.
“We didn’t receive the experience we paid for,” Mrs Press said.
However, the latest SIA offer ended up settling the dispute.
In response to queries, an SIA spokesman said the couple accepted an offer to reimburse them for the difference in airfares for premium economy and economy class. The difference totalled NZ$982.50 (S$795.40) each.
The refund was in addition to the $320 in travel vouchers given to the couple.
Mrs Press said the couple plans to donate the money to a charity for guide dogs.
She said: “It wasn’t about the money in the end. The fight was more about principles and not normalising things that really aren’t normal and acceptable.”
Since April 1, SIA has banned emotional support dogs on board its flights although it is still allowing customers to travel with their dogs if they made a request and submitted the required documents before the ban kicked in.
Emotional support animals are pets certified by a mental health professional as necessary for the mental health of their owners.
They are not the same as service or assistance animals – like seeing-eye dogs or guide dogs – trained to help those with disabilities in daily life.
Approved assistance dogs are still allowed on board SIA flights.
An SIA spokesman said the airline endeavours to notify customers who may be seated next to an assistance dog prior to boarding.
He said: “In circumstances where customers seated next to an assistance dog request to be moved, Singapore Airlines will assist to re-seat customers within the same cabin where space permits.”