Thursday, June 26, 2008

A Little Amplification on the Short Version

In my previous post, what you got was the short story, believe it or not, of our 36 hour odyssey of the actual physical move to Panamá.  I should mention that what carry on luggage we had was filled with what we needed for the cats we brought on board, including medications for the one cat who had cancer and who had to be medicated while we were in flight.  What luggage we checked had the rest of what we needed for the animals; all we packed for us was the equivalent of a toothbrush and a change of underwear.

I also want to amplify on the story of my little scene with Alaska Airlines.  I actually am not a confrontative person and will allow people a great deal of leeway if I see that they are trying to do their jobs.  But I had been warned by a Panamanian woman whom I met during my last trip to Panamá before we moved about getting confirmation of having the animals on board.  It was she who gave me the idea of standing at your seat, because she, as it happened had the same trouble I did--no formal confirmation.  She urged me to be firm and keep pushing until I had it.

I may not be confrontative, but no one needs to urge me to be "firm".  Especially where our animals are concerned.

The crew was in the final stages of preparing for taxiing away from the gate, and I had yet to receive confirmation.  I asked the flight attendant about it, told her I hadn't had word, and she just kept on strolling down the aisle, checking for upright seat backs, with "Don't worry, I'm sure they're on board", never even looking at me as she continued on her way.

That's when I stood up.  Believe me, I had everyone's attention, even hers, finally.  I said in a moderate but firm voice (waiting for some US marshall to jump out at me!) that I'd not had confirmation, that we were moving internationally and had to catch another flight, that I had heard stories about animals being left behind, and that I was frightened to death, and that I would not sit down until I knew the animals were on board the plane.  Every single word was true, especially about being frightened to death.  I never stopped being terrified until we landed at Tocumen and I saw those three crates .

The flight attendant was clearly furious but indeed it would have taken a US marshall to get me back into my seat (more likely, to carry me off) until I was sure Lucy, Ethel and Tulip were with us.  She came back and gracelessly gave me the confirmation slips that somehow had not made it on board.

I sat down, heart pounding, and the plane left the gate.


Linda & Clyde said...

Dear Joyce,
That could have been us or many other animal lovers that are in the world. Seems like someone could make a living developing an air service for animal lovers to emigrate with their animals, in cabin, with their owners, and everybody would be much happier!
Do you think there will ever be animal customs entry services, and people, too, in David? I've read where the runways are to be improved, but, I know it takes quite awhile anywhere for something like that to come to fruition. Sure would be nice for folks interested in the Chiriqui area. Have good evening, and we'll watch for tomorrow's blog, Take care, Linda and Clyde

Joyce said...

Dear Linda and Clyde,

You can charter a plane but that's out of reach of the pocketbooks of ordinary people.

I suppose that eventually it might be possible to have full immigration and animal services in David, but Malek airport is so small that it's hard to see how that will happen. My guess is that you will have to enter with animals at Tocumen for the foreseeable future.