A viral video flaunts a very cute dog named Maya flying in-cabin on a Turkish Airlines longhaul flight between the USA and Istanbul. It appears the guide dog scam has infiltrated Turkish Airlines…
Take Your “Guide Dog” Onboard Turkish Airlines…
A video purports to show a dog named Maya boarding a Turkish Airlines flight and then flying in economy class:
✈️🥰 The longest flight Maya has ever had. 13 hours direct flight. She could handle it very well. Our longest flight was 10 hours before. Here is just 3 hours more 😀🐶
On Instagram,the video has amassed nearly 15,000 likes but also led to a very active discussion on why the dog was allowed onboard in the first place.
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While Turkish Airlines does not allow emotional support animals per se, it does allow so-called “psychiatric service animals” (Turkish refers to them only as a service animal, but notes broard categories of acceptance) on flights between the USA and Turkey.
A service animal is a dog, regardless of breed or type, individually trained to do work or perform tasks for the benefit of a qualified individual with a disability, including a physical, sensory, psychiatric, intellectual or other mental disability. Only dogs are accepted as service animals for our flights.
We accept service dogs on Istanbul-USA and USA-Istanbul flights in accordance with U.S. DoT regulations. Passengers traveling with a service dog are required to provide related documents and obtain a booking confirmation at least 48 hours before departure. In addition, passengers travelling with SVAN on these routes are required to complete the U.S. Department of Transportation Service Animal Air Transportation and U.S. Department of Transportation Service Animal Relief Attestation forms at least 48 hours before the flight.
In short, you only need to attest the dog is a service animal (a mile-wide loophole to bring your pet onboard for free) at least 48 hours before departure.
As you can see in the video above, Maya was able to freely walk through the cabin (on a leash) despite her large size. No kennel required…
Dogs On Planes. Can We Be Honest With Each Other?
Let me preface this by saying Maya is a gorgeous dog. While I do not personally understand it, I recognize the unique bond dogs have with their owners.
But at the same time, can we call a spade a spade?
This is not a blind or deaf person posting videos with sound and commentary on social media.
Instead, this is a cute dog.
I think it is fair to say that (almost) all pet dogs serve to bring psychological comfort to their owner, but how broad of a word are we willing to stretch disability to be? Is it sound public policy for anyone to be able to say they have a “sensory, psychiatric, intellectual or other mental disability” without having to provide more details?
Seeing Maya makes me want to pick her up and cuddle her. But does she belong in the passenger cabin of an airplane? That’s a much tricker question and I lean toward no.
What do you think? In the interest of helping those who genuinely may need a service dog, do we need to let “free riders” skate by?
A national dog organization should start a voluntary certification program. Passengers should also have proof of disability. You may say “that’s illegal”. Well, you have to have ID to board the plane but there are ways to get on the plane without ID. So it should be with passengers claiming disability. If you don’t show disability then you must show that the dog is a certified guide dog. Your choice.
This is a Samoyed. I had one for fifteen years. While I loved my dog I would never inflect the dog hair on others. They shed an immense amount even with daily grooming. The hair floats, sticks to everything and clogs the best vacuums. Fortunately the Samoyed is quasi hypoallergenic. But it will take forever to get the hair out of the plane. That said pets don’t belong on planes. It’s unhealthy for the animal & the humans.
One last thing, while the Samoyed is very cute they are also a stubborn difficult dog and not for everyone.
How can you assume this particular case is a scam? You have no idea what condition the owner has to warrant a service animal, nor do you have any right to assume. They may have PTSD, heart issues, diabetes, or a myriad of other non-showing disabilities/diseases/etc.
Not all disabilities are physical and outwardly obvious. The dog handler may have PTSD with the dog being specifically trained to provide pressure therapy to reduce the severity of the handlers episodes. The handler may have diabetes and the dog can sense when the owner is going into shock and help provide assistance for the handler to moderate their blood sugar.
It’s really bold of you to make such assumptions with no actual evidence to prove otherwise – very ableist and privileged in fact. I suggest you delete this article and rethink why people may need service animals.
It’s all fun until someone gets mauled by one of these animals. Doesn’t Turkish have a legal department?
I recently flew SEA-IST in J on Turkish. Sitting directly behind me was a very nice woman with a very well-behaved 25 lb dog. The cabin crew and other passengers were enthralled with the dog. The woman and dog slept a good part of the flight and I didn’t remember the dog traipsing up and down the aisle.
While I really don’t get the point of people claiming their dog is an emotional support animal, I largely subscribe to the “do what makes you happy as long as it doesn’t interfere with other’s happiness” credo. In this case, I had a perfectly happy flight on TK. With or without neighboring dogs.
i used to think like that…but then one day you realize how collective actions, and SELFish actions affect you, and the planet at large. Pluralism and diversity are going up in flames soon.
This didn’t “infiltrate Turkish Airlines,” it’s legally required by all air carriers servicing the United States. My little dog passed away in August at the ripe old age of 14. He took numerous long-haul international flights as my partner’s service animal. He never once caused any sort of issue in the air; in fact since we only traveled in business class, people rarely knew he was onboard. I know many people on this site are against dogs, for no real reason, and to that I say “what a shame.” Dogs bring people a lot of joy. They also can be trained to perform legitimate duties, and enrich the lives of their owners.
This specific dog seems well behaved. Nobody was worse off by his presence.
I think the real question is whether its ok to force a dog to be on a plane that long. How does a dog that size relieve itself on-board?
This is way more humane than putting a dog in crate in the hold. A healthy, well-trained adult dog can hold it if its food and water are “managed” (i.e., minimized) before the flight. Small dogs with small bladders will have more problems however. A veterinarian can prescribe a sedative to make the dog doze off for most of the flight.
The problem is that many dog owners are irresponsible and delusional about what their dog can handle. I doubt anyone collects good data, but I’d guess a large pet in cabin has an accident about 10% of the time on long flights, less on short segments
On flights over 8 hours, the DOT requires additional documentation (even for what the author calls “scam” service animals). You have to certify the animal’s ability to hold itself throughout the flight, or in the case of some animals, they can be trained to use pads in the lav.
If you’re mental state is such that you simply cannot fly without your animal, I do not want to be sitting next to you on an airplane; you are not fit to fly.
Oooops. “Your mental state….”
Anyone that needs emotional support from an animal should not be allowed on a plane.
As you rightly suggest…it opens up a mile wide loophole…..and there’s nothing to suggest this animal was on board in an”official” capacity……..
As the occupant of the left hand seat up the pointy end, I was amused to learn of the possible future of aircrew and flight management……
The flight deck of the future will include the following:
The computer flies the plane
The pilot monitors the computer
Well, the dog is there to bite the pilot if they touch anything………l
While I do not personally understand it, I recognize the unique bond dogs have with their owners. I have the same feeling about children, so you enjoy your kids, I’ll enjoy my dog. But, the service animal scam is alive and well, no doubt about it.
I flew IST YUL last summer in J. A passenger was allowed on with a small dog in a pet carrier. The dog barked loudly sporadically throughout the flight. First time I had seen that. (My daughter travels with her cat from time to time in a similar carrier, but the cat goes unnoticed.).
I really do not understand why people insist on bringing their POOR DOGS and other animals with them on planes!!I recently saw a couple with 3 poodles(large ones) in a large baby coach in a lounge… the lounge staff thought they were cute and pettd them???Nuts…
Almost certainly this is not a real service dog. I have seen quite a few different breeds of service dogs. Usually certain breeds are picked because they better lend themselves to different service tasks. I do not even know what this breed is. I have never seen one of its like in the real world. I would classify it as exotic and very unlikely to be a true service dog.
When a suspicious dog rolls through the cabin there needs to be some procedure to investigate the integrity of the dog’s documentation and if found to be forged the dog, and perhaps the owner, should get a ban.
@JohnSF The dog as a Samoyed, one of the oldest breeds. I had one for 15 wonderful years. One of the reasons they are unsuitable for a service animal is the incredible amount of shedding. They are considered a high maintenance breed. 3/4 dog 1/4 hair. The general public finds being covered in dog hair unacceptable
As others have noted, many people requiring service animals are not blind, and thereby do not outwardly show their disability and are fully capable of using Instagram like “regular” folks. Deaf people may require a service dog but don’t appear outwardly disabled. People with seizures often utilize service dogs to alert them to an impending seizure. And there are a myriad of other disabilities (protected by the ADA) that require service animals at their destination, if not on board as well. Service animals are not something you can leave at home when traveling. And all people with disabilities are entitled to enjoy their lives or work without being enslaved by their disability and the prejudice of others.
Just because you don’t see anything in an Instagram post (or even in person) that appears as an outward disability doesn’t mean it’s a “scam”. Do you go up to a person in a wheelchair and insist on them proving that they require the use of the wheelchair and to prove their disability? (Maybe they’re “scamming” their way into boarding first). There’s a reason that it is prohibited by US law to ask (same with disabled people). Emotional support dogs are not service animals and the fact that many people took advantage of this in recent years has done a grave disservice to those requiring the use of a service animal. They are what has caused harm to the bringing of dogs onboard an aircraft (and the resultant prejudice and false assumptions by onlookers), not the service animals themselves. Prior to several years ago, there was almost no public awareness of service animals traveling on aircraft (or other transport), because service animals are well trained and generally extremely well behaved. Once a number of bad actors took advantage of the loopholes for emotional support animals, it became necessary for the US government and airlines to step in and the issue has mostly gone away.
Dogs should – of course – not be allowed to roam around the cabin. There are simply too many other passengers who are either allergic or afraid of dogs. The dog owner’s comfort shouldn’t be prioritized above everyone elses, especially not considering the very real risk that a dog might bite someone (or lick someone, which is extremely unhygenic). If you’re nervous about flying, you can take a mild sedative or sleeping pills.
I abhor the deceitful nature of people that travel with fake service animals. Stupidity is not a disability. Both the pets and their owners deserve nothing short of a public stoning. My solution is quite simple, however. I travel with a special blend of highly toxic and poisonous animal treats and present them to any and all service animals explicitly labeled as such. Naturally, any *legitimate* service animals will be so well trained that they refuse to engage, become distracted, or partake in any sort of unauthorized treat. It is logical to assume, therefore, that any animal choosing to partake in an unauthorized treat can’t possibly be an actual service animal and – as such – deserves to die. Win win!
I think it’s worth mentioning that, regardless of the merits of this particular case, transporting your dog in the cargo hold is risky. If you care about your animal, as most people do, I definitely understand finding any loophole you can to get them in the main cabin instead. Of course, that’s assuming you’re moving internationally or something, and not just taking a vacation where you could have left your dog home with a sitter.
Correct me if I’m wrong, but we didn’t have this kind of nonsense 30-40-50 years ago. No dogs in the cabin, period. Yes, some things were better before. If people could handle being away from their dog 30-40-50 years ago, they can do so now too.
> This is not a blind or deaf person posting videos with sound and commentary on social media.
Hi Matthew. I think this might be a moment of education for you. Did you know that terminal diagnoses are also considered a disability? I don’t think many know, until perhaps they are faced with such a situation themselves or they directly know someone who is going through such a thing. I genuinely hope you and your family will never have to encounter either case. I didn’t know until I was diagnosed this past summer with terminal, stage 4 cancer.
There are many people out there with terminal diagnoses who may outwardly appear “normal” or able-bodied and able-minded. I would as well, if my cancer did not spread to my bones and make me use a walker at the age of 35. As a result of this, I now look “disabled”, if you will. However, I hope to recover my ability to walk this year and if/when that happens, I’ll look “normal” like everyone else. The only difference is that internally, I’ll forever be fighting for my life and the majority of people with this diagnosis have ~5 years left.
Having to face the idea of a severely shortened lifespan is incredibly depressing. I didn’t know before until reading some of these comments that Samoyeds don’t have the right temperament to be effective service dogs, but honestly when I saw the screengrab, my first thought was that a dog like that would increase my happiness and quality of life so much for the time I have left. It’d be amazing to have a service dog like that if it were well-trained. Yes, some people do scam the system to bring their dog onboard, but that may not be true for all.
> I think it is fair to say that (almost) all pet dogs serve to bring psychological comfort to their owner, but how broad of a word are we willing to stretch disability to be? Is it sound public policy for anyone to be able to say they have a “sensory, psychiatric, intellectual or other mental disability” without having to provide more details?
> In the interest of helping those who genuinely may need a service dog, do we need to let “free riders” skate by?
I agree providing documentation should be done by airport staff to weed out bad actors. But outside of formal processes like this, no one should have to “prove” their disability to anyone else. That can force someone to have to re-live their story every time, remind them of how they are different, or make them think they are inferior to someone else because they have to live life differently than the norm.
Your post was intended for lighthearted entertainment and I bet my comment will be seen as “woke” by some others. But I’m still going to submit it because as a long-time reader, I feel like you’d care to read this perspective.
Mind your own business Matthew. Let the dog fly.
Good god you’re so ignorant matthew