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.