On Thursday evening, Cheryl Casone and I joined Tucker Carlson to discuss the death of a dog on a United flight after the cabin crew ordered the puppy stowed in the overhead bin.
Cheryl is a former flight attendant and a, um, dogged defender of her former profession. United's statement that this was a "tragic accident" didn't help, given that it was not an accident but, at the very minimum, criminal negligence: You should no more put a dog in an airless overhead bin than you should stick a baby up there. As I understand his/her position, the flight attendant claims not to have known there was an animal in the travel-kennel. But the family paid for a ticket ($125) for the dog, so she surely had the poor puppy listed on her manifest, no?
That said, to cut Cheryl's colleagues some slack on this, I was more disturbed by the reaction of almost everyone else, which testifies to the terrible corroding nature of the ghastly culture of contemporary air travel: It's the most controlled environment in free societies - the place where freeborn citizens have fewest rights, including whether they can use a bathroom or get a glass of water. It's no surprise that in such a world a certain proportion of the "cabin service" team start behaving like bullying sadists, or that far too many passengers go along with it. What's disturbing to me is not just that the dog's owner went along, but so did those passengers who heard the dog barking from inside the bin or filmed it on their phones but otherwise did nothing about it. Seeing the puppy shoved in there, hearing the bark, knowing enough about what's happening to get your camera out ...these people should have stood up and got the dog down.
On United and too many other airlines, we are the pets - docile, leashed and spayed. Click below to watch:
Tomorrow morning, Friday, I'll be back on telly bright and early to join Steve, Ainsley and Brian on the curvy couch at "Fox & Friends", live across America at 8.30am Eastern/5.30am Pacific. And join me later at 8pm Eastern when I'll be sitting in for Tucker for a full hour of guest-hosted semi-competence on one of America's top two cable shows. Tucker's show is one of the best things on current-affairs television and, after the last year telly-wise (click here and scroll down), it's always a pleasure to work with one of the best teams in cable news.
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