Well, I just completed my first trip on an airplane with a pet. A dog to be specific. Overall, things went quite well, but I wouldn't recommend it as a regular event.
I was returning an adorable 17 pound Fox Wire Terrier to his momma in Phoenix. I was traveling from Washington D.C. so this meant a long flight. Looking back, I should have examined exactly where my layover would place me and how long each of the flights were, but as they say hindsight is 20/20. My layover was in Atlanta, so all it did was make a long trip, longer.
My furry friend was happy enough to be going somewhere, anywhere, and I know he hoped he was going home, but on board the plane he was getting a little jumpy. I finally determined that it was the vibrations on the floor that were bothering him and held his carrier on my lap for most of the flight from Atlanta to Phoenix. Some of it he sat in the empty seat next to me. (I left DC on the first flight out of the day on a Sunday in hopes that the planes would not be full and I might have an empty seat next to me. It worked.)
Unfortunately, I got very little rest on board either flight and in Atlanta I had the joy of landing at the end of one concourse, needing to change gates and travel to the end of another one for my connecting flight. All while carrying this 17 lb. pooch, another carry-on bag with my laptop and other essentials and a bottle of water. I got a workout in whether I wanted one or not.
There are ways I could have made things easier, if I had had a clue, or if I had had more travel experience. But it wasn't awful, just tiring and I succeeded in returning the visiting pooch to his rightful owner. Both are very happy now. Though I know my sons are going to be missing the little furball, they still have their own bigger furballs to play with - an 84 pound yellow Lab and a cantankerous tuxedo cat. I think they'll live.
And once again, I've got ideas floating in my head for story ideas involving traveling and people traveling with pets. Some of them are quite bizarre since I had only about 3 hours of sleep prior to my flights and only about an hour on board total. Sleep deprivation does strange things to my muse.