The Cat Literally Got My Tongue In The Air France Lounge

I’ve armed myself with my helmet and flak jacket just in case people paint me to be an animal hater.  I’m not.  I’ll admit, for many years I was much more of a cat person than a dog person.  When I got married, I bought my wife a dog thinking that it would delay, and maybe even prevent, her from thinking we needed kids.  Two children later (who I love very, very much) I’ve been proven wrong and turned into a bit of a dog lover along with an affinity for cats.  It’s through that lens that I share this story.

Recently, my family and I were flying Air France home from Europe at the tail end of a family vacation.  We were fortunate enough to have some time to check out the wonderful new business class lounge at Paris-Charles De Gaulle airport in terminal 2E, Hall L.  My wife received a free 20-minute spa treatment, the kids enjoyed a snack and I walked around the lounge, exploring every nook and cranny.

A New Level Of Traveling With Your Pet?

As I walked through the lounge I noticed a woman with a very large, orange cat.  The cat reminded me not only of Garfield but of the first pet I can recall having, a Persian ball of fur who used to gallop through our house and eat everything.  Our own personal Garfield.  The sight of the cat in the lounge initially brought a smile to my face.  The woman had removed the cat from its carrier in the lounge and was allowing the cat to lounge on the floor in the middle of the walkway.  

That was mildly surprising to me, though I seem to have become desensitized to abnormal activities while traveling.  Things got a bit weirder when she started dragging the cat across the floor by a leash because she wanted to change chair.  A man (her husband?) hurried over, scooped the cat up and followed her to a new seat.  That’s when I noticed there was a second cat.  

Once the woman was situated, the orange cat took up a new place on the floor.  However, the second cat seemed to be a bit higher in the pecking order, as the woman removed that cat from the carrier and deposited it on the chair beside her.  With no seat left for her male companion, he alternated between taking the cats somewhere (bathroom break) and wandering around the lounge.  As you can see from the picture below, the cat was very comfortable.

Is This Wrong?

I do love animals, and I would be extremely reluctant to trust an airline to hold a family pet in the cargo hold.  Still, I’m not sure I would have the bravado to turn a business class lounge into a comfortable home for my pets.  Am I being too harsh when I say I was a bit speechless watching this unfold?

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20 Comments

  1. Would be even funnier to see the cats scratching/clawing the furniture, or chasing each other from chair-top to chair-top.

  2. I personally feel that it’s inappropriate. The lounge is NOT a home and travelers/guests should act accordingly.

  3. As someone who had to bring “Houdini the Cat” (it managed to escape mid-flight though not far luckily) cross-border and on two flights for my job, I would not be surprised to see any animal in the lounge. As long as they don’t destroy stuff or actively engage other passengers, I don’t see why a person in Business would not be able to benefit from the lounge just for having a cat or dog or bunny or whatever around.

    There is some common sense to be applied as to what that animal can be allowed to do, and of course there is the consideration of hair allergies, but I think a middle-way can be found, at least in Europe, where people tend not to take such strong positions as in the US on most topics.

    I would be more afraid of the “emotional help dogs” that bite people, rather than displeased by some fluffster taking up an extra chair in the lounge and lapping up its milk quietly.

  4. Some people have strong Pet allergies (myself included). I know if could not be in the vicinity of these travelers without sneezing, having my eyes water, and throat close-up. I wish more pet owners were aware that its pretty easy to infringe on other people who also have the right to enjoy a lounge without an allergic reaction.

  5. I would have call this out to a lounge personnel and let them deal with it. Particularly, it’s a health issue (since they serve food, I would assume that animals are not allowed unless they are service animals) and safety (some people might be allergic to cats, and their fur/dander would linger on the furniture).

  6. I adore pets, especially cats, but… Are you kidding me?
    I am a psychiatrist, and I literally have a dog that assists me in therapy.
    Yet… I refuse to write letters for “Emotional Support Animals.”
    It has become a ridiculous exercise in self absorption.
    My dog is at home when we travel. I take him into stores, restaurants, hospitals, office buildings etc. as part of his constant training about how to behave in public.It is a job he takes very seriously. When his vest is on, he understands it is business, not pleasure.
    Yep. Completely inappropriate to bring felines into such an environment..
    Furthermore, there are people who are extremely allergic to cat dander, which will probably linger in the furniture.

  7. I have asthma, not sure how this is good especially if you are getting on a plane and in the middle of keeping asthma and allergies under control. We leave our (Bichon) dog with a great sitter and he is happier.

  8. I am allergic to pet dander as well as little kids who are allowed to run around as though they are at the playground. Pets should be kept in cages, unless the location has a separate area. Children should also be kept in appropriate play area if they want to run around and play. Pet owners and parents need to show responsibility in cases such as this.

  9. I adore cats (best cat EVER – we had to put down over Christmas…) and I adore dogs. I don’t mind watching them trot through the airport on a leash. It puts a smile on my face everytime I see one, but I don’t want to sit by one on an aircraft. However… I’d much rather be next to a sleeping old cat than a loud kid. I like my kids (now college and post college) but I don’t find other kids charming. I especially don’t like them in business and first class lounges or planes when I am spending big bucks or big miles – it is a luxury that I would like to savor sans children. I read an article where Kevin O’Leary (Shark Tank, etc.) said he flew first class but sends his (older) kids back to coach. He says he worked hard to be able to afford it and he’s teaching his kids that they need to work hard to afford luxury – nothing gets handed to you. They are still travelling to great places, but he doesn’t want entitled kids. I appreciated that.

  10. I don’t mind cats, but I have a very severe cat allergy. When I knowingly enter a cat-filled environment, like my childhood home, I am armed with Benadryl plus a lint roller. I wouldn’t expect to have to have either of these in any public place! Shame on these people for being so self-centered and not thinking of the common good!

  11. I don’t literally think you don’t know how to use the word “literally”. But why even add that to the post title?

  12. I used to have a cat who traveled with me on a leash. I see no difference between a cat or dog on a leash but I would never have allowed her on the furniture!

  13. Reminds me of a clever billboard outside Heathrow for United.
    Had a big orange cat sleeping in their biz seat with the tag line:

    “Funny how they always know how to find the best seats”.

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