We’re living in a society, people: Animals on planes edition


NBC Chicago: There’s an increasing likelihood that your next seatmate could be a dog — or a cat — or a turtle — or a chicken or a pig or even a kangaroo – and there’s really not much you can do about it.

They’re called Emotional Support Animals – ESAs. Almost anybody can bring one, or two, or three — or even more – on board a plane, and virtually all species (other than snakes) are allowed. All you need is a letter from a licensed mental health professional, saying that you would benefit by having an ESA during plane travel. That allows your animal to sit with you for free, and you don’t have to pay the $125 fee that you’d otherwise likely be charged to bring your pet on board.

I was alerted to this story on a friend’s Facebook page after she mentioned the person next to her on a plane had her dog out of its carrier and on the floor. Let me be clear: we’re not talking about trained service animals. These ’emotional support animals’ are pets or other animals with no training whatsoever.

We’ve reached a point where everyone thinks they can do whatever they want, and screw anyone else who might be affected. This is wrong. We live in a society (for now) and that means a social contract exists in which you may not be able to do something just because you want to do so.

For instance, if you are terrified to fly, then get prescription medication to calm you down or endure being terrified for a little while. If you’re unwilling to do that and simply want your poodle or kangaroo or turtle to be with you, then you shouldn’t be able to fly. Period. Other people should have the right to travel without dealing with the petting zoo you brought with you in order to calm your nerves.

There is absolutely no room on planes as it is. The last thing anyone wants to put up with is your dumb dog barking and yapping for 3 hours or peeing on your seatmate’s laptop bag. Do everyone a favor and stay home. Pretty please. With sugar on top.


TripIt, Waze, Sunrise: 3 essential travel apps that work together

Sometimes it’s hard to remember we are still in the very early, experimental stages of smartphones and apps. Some of the things they can do seem like magic, much in the way that saving and editing a simple text document on the first computers must have blown the minds of people who were used to typewriters.

This is most clear to me when I realize just how fractured the smartphone experience is right now. Perhaps Apple has it all solved, but I have real reservations about getting locked into that ecosystem. So for now, I’m an Android guy.

The place I notice this the most, and find most frustrating, is the way most apps work together (or don’t). Calendars and maps rarely work together well and require too much work to get them to play nicely. Apps like TripIt have changed my life by maintaining my itineraries and more, but they don’t play nice with other apps either.

Until now.

To manage travel, you need 3 great apps:

Itineraries, schedules, confirmation numbers, addresses

TripIt Review



Sunrise: Beautiful calendar app that works with TripIt when you want it to without filling your calendar with unnecessary clutter

Sunrise Review



Waze: The perfect app for getting you where you need to be

Waze Review




TripIt is simply the best tool I’ve used for managing the details of a trip and organizing confirmation numbers and more. Connect TripIt to Sunrise and everything is right in front of you in a beautiful calendar. Connect Sunrise to Waze and all you have to do is tap the location to get fantastic directions that adjust based on current conditions and even alert you to police cars and accidents while you drive. Send your ETA and updated route info to those you are meeting and you won’t have to update them to say you are running late!

The best part is that all of these work together seamlessly, giving us a glimpse of the future when everything will work together flawlessly. We’re not there yet, but traveling with these three apps makes you wish the future would hurry up already!