Who would ever choose to fly anywhere at 6 o'clock in the morning (unless it's a trip to Hawaii or something)? Cooper and I decided it would be a great idea, so we got up at 3:30 and lugged all our stuff and ourselves (with the help of mom and dad) to the PDX airport.
Cooper was a little nervous for his first time traveling and, needless to say, so was I. We said a quick and sad goodbye to mom and dad and jumped through security. Mom and I had been joking about the security putting Cooper through the "puffer". You know, that's the booth you stand in and it puffs huge gusts of wind at you. As I gave the lady my ticket, she informed me that (because I had a dog with me) Cooper and I would be entering the puffer. I had to hold Cooper, a nervous dog by nature, to my chest and walk into the booth where I was told we would hear a loud noise and feel a "light breeze." We walked in and waited for awhile. All of a sudden there was a deafening roar causing Cooper to try and leap from my arms. I used my man strength to hold him tightly, planted my feet, and prepared for the gusts. As the noise died down, Cooper and I were blown back, Cooper's lips flapping in the "breeze." It was a good thing I had my feet planted.
Cooper and I made it safely through security and down to our gate. As it was time to board, I shoved Cooper, unwillingly, into his small carrier. It was a struggle, but I felt better knowing I was providing half my cabin mates with entertainment. I flipped Cooper over my shoulder and headed onto the plane.
As luck would have it, we were seated in practically the final row where the airline is so generous as to give you approximately 5 inches from the edge of your seat to the back of the seat in front of you. I tipped Coops on his side and shoved him down between the seats until I could jimmy him under the seat. He did well for about 30 seconds. Then he started to cry. Now Cooper is not a noisy dog, so I knew he was totally freaked. Luckily the nice flight attendant (and the even nicer man in the middle seat next to me) let me put Cooper's carrier on my lap. I got as much of my body as possible in the carrier with him (which either calmed him down or left him with so little oxygen he couldn't waste any on crying). The rest of the flight went smoothly until it was time to shove the poor dog back under the seat for the landing.
In Denver I decided I had a mission, and one mission only (besides dragging Cooper into the bathroom stall, but that's a whole other story). My mission was to fly Economy Plus. I got to the gate just as the lady was calling people to board. She obviously sensed my need for that extra 5 inches because she upgraded me at no charge. Cooper and I were living large. Not only did he fit under the seat (no shoving needed), we also had the entire three seats to ourselves. Those two hours were heaven.
All in all, the whole experience wasn't too bad. We made it alive (and one of us a little braver). Next time I will definitely be booking those extra five inches from the beginning.