Whatever it takes

Whatever it takes

March 12, 2021

An airline sold a ticket to a Scottish Fold cat from Norilsk, which cost three times more than tickets for its owners.

#ARCTIC. #SIBERIA. THIS IS TAIMYR. Even today, a ticket from the capital of Siberia – Krasnoyarsk – to Norilsk for 16 315 rubles seems to be an expensive pleasure. Now imagine that everything happened when the dollar exchange rate was only about 30 rubles – that is, for their pet’s two-hour flight, the Efimovs from Norilsk paid more than 500 American dollars. Do you think this is unreal? Not in the least!

“My husband and I bought tickets to Norilsk according to a special offer – for 4 915 rubles per person. The cashier was warned: we have a pet with us. It is necessary to make the appropriate mark on the ticket. However, the cashier said that their airline would only need a certificate from a veterinarian, nothing else”, Svetlana Efimova told after all that happened.

According to her, on the day of departure, they arrived in Krasnoyarsk airport with their belongings and the cat Zhora. Check-in at the airport was in full swing. When the cat was unexpectedly demanded to be taken to the baggage cabin, the spouses were shocked – they had been flying with Zhora on vacation for several years. This was the first time when Zhora was intended to be taken to the luggage hold.

“If you are not satisfied with it, take tickets from another airline”, the staff at the check-in counter were adamant.

The atmosphere was heating up. One of the passengers standing in line added fuel to the fire, telling that once his Chinese Crested dog had flied with luggage. After such a trip, its crestedness sharply decreased, and the dog itself was treated for a month.

The indignant Efimovs flatly refused to hand over the cat along with the bags and suitcases. The administrator who appeared half an hour later offered them a choice of two options: check in the cat in luggage or… buy a ticket for it. That was what the Efimovs did in the end.

The cashier printed a travel document costing 16 315 rubles, calling Zhora “Efimov/Cat”. Everyone laughed. Except for the owners.

In the cabin of the plane, the couple declared their rights. “We need one more seat”, they showed the flight attendant to the three boarding seats. The bag with Zhora was put on a separate seat.

Upon arrival – the spouses had their trip to be refunded by the employer – they handed over the tickets to the accounting department and heard: “Efimov/Cat” ticket payment could not be refunded. Only luggage. The lawyer confirmed that the pet, according to the Civil Law, was not a dependent, and therefore, its ticket was not subject to payment by the employer.

The airline, which local journalists contacted after the incident, referred to the rules for the air carriage of passengers, baggage and cargo, where it was said that pets had to be transported as checked baggage (in the baggage compartment of the aircraft) in agreement with the carrier… Carriage of animals and birds in the cabin was not allowed. In some cases, the carrier reserved the right to make a different decision.

Obviously, the actions of the airline’s staff were dictated by that last point of the rules, and the Efimovs could at least be glad that the cat got an economy class ticket, not a business class one.

Norilsk residents took the side of the spouses, who did not leave their pet in such situation and paid a big sum for his return to the hometown.

Texr: Elena Popova, Photo: Svetlana Efimova

March 12, 2021

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