When Pigs Fly, Geico TV Commercial

Courtesy and Respect in Air Travel

Geico has fun in commercials with the catchphrase “when pigs fly.” But according to the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, flying pigs — as service animals — are not so rarified. Reporter Elizabeth Bloom describes flying over the holidays with a pig named Hamlet as a fellow traveler.

Megan Peabody with HamletWhat is striking about this story is the degree of courtesy and respect that Megan Peabody and her traveling companion, Hamlet, received on their flight. One person, apparently afraid of pigs, asked to be reseated, but others eagerly volunteered to take a seat next to these celebrities. Flight attendants rewarded the volunteers with $50 travel vouchers.

It’s hard not to think how sharply this reception contrasts with the treatment that larger customers sometimes experience on airlines. OAC board member Sarah Bramblette tells us:

Airlines are definitely making it more difficult for individuals with obesity, really all passengers, to fly comfortably. Seats are smaller and rows are spaced closer together, even first class is not as roomy or comfortable. It’s also more difficult to select your seat because so many seats are blocked off (mostly aisle and window seats) for priority or premium seating. With fewer flights and more flights oversold, the chances of having an empty seat next to you are much reduced. Airlines have removed rows of seats to create a few rows with extra legroom at a premium price. Why not offer a few extra wide seating options for that same price?

Thankfully, despite the changes, despite the challenges, I have had far more positive flying experiences than I’ve had negative. Of course the negative ones typically stand out the most. I find it’s best to learn from them and figure out if I can be better prepared for my next trip on that airline.

We wonder. Why can’t airlines be as consistently accommodating for larger customers as they seem to be for people with service animals?

Click here to read more in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette and click here to for tips for dealing with airline policies for larger customers.

When Pigs Fly, Geico TV Commercial / YouTube

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January 19, 2016

4 Responses to “Courtesy and Respect in Air Travel”

  1. January 19, 2016 at 8:33 am, Allen Browne said:

    I admire Ms Bramblette’s positive response.

    For me it’s a one word answer – bias. People with service animals are sick or disabled and large customers are fat.

    Sigh! Cleansing breath.

    Have good day.

    • January 19, 2016 at 10:52 am, Ted said:

      Thanks, Allen. You’re right, Sarah is a remarkable advocate.

  2. January 20, 2016 at 5:31 pm, Kam said:


    I’m a big fan of your blog and find it very insightful.

    I know it is not the point of your blog, but, just FYI: the terms ’emotional support’ animals and ‘service’ animals are different and are not interchangeable– by the definition in the ADA.


    • January 20, 2016 at 7:09 pm, Ted said:

      Thanks, Kam! You’re absolutely right.