Mile-high menagerie: Airlines allow pets to fly in the cabin with their owners as they flee wildfires in Canada

  • Wildfires have forced residents and pets to flee Fort McMurray, Canada
  • For evacuation, WestJet and Canadian North allowed pets in plane cabins
  • Happy owners have shared images of their pets in the aisles and on seats

You wouldn't normally expect to see a dog, cat or tortoise sitting across the plane aisle from you on a flight - but two airlines made that scenario entirely possible as they broke the rules in light of exceptional circumstances.

Over the past week, thousands of residents have been forced to flee Fort McMurray in Canada as wildfires ravage the region.

And in order to make the evacuation process more bearable for pet owners, carriers WestJet and Canadian North have allowed passengers to bring their canine, feline and even reptile friends, into the main plane cabin with them.

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Zumba instructor Amanda Weger, was able to transport her two dogs Tucker (on the floor) and Bailey (on the seat) in the cabin and uploaded a photo of the pooches getting to grips with the seating arrangement

Zumba instructor Amanda Weger, was able to transport her two dogs Tucker (on the floor) and Bailey (on the seat) in the cabin and uploaded a photo of the pooches getting to grips with the seating arrangement

Typically animals being transported on planes have to be placed in the cargo hold area, but many owners were unable to return home to pack the cages required for this.

Instead customers have relished the opportunity to have their pets travel with them and have been sharing images on social media of their favourite creatures lying in the aisles or occupying vacant seats.

WestJet pilot Keith Mann told Toronto Star: 'We're all animal lovers here. We knew it was important for owners to re-connect with them,' Mann said, referring to others who had been separated from their pets. 

'It's definitely unusual to carry pets in the cabin, but due to the unusual circumstances we were able to bend the rules to accommodate these animals,' a spokesperson from Canadian North told Huffington Post Canada

The decision was met with praise on social media sites, as images of pets in the cabin areas started popping up all over the internet. 

Zumba instructor Amanda Weger, was able to transport her two dogs Tucker and Bailey on a Sunjet flight, operated by WestJet and Suncor Energy, and uploaded a photo of the pooches getting to grips with the seating arrangement. 

Weger told MailOnline Travel: 'When we arrived to the runway there were no more kennels left for them so there was no choice but to bring them aboard.

'Once the plane filled up they panicked but we got here safe and sound, that's all that matters.' 

Canadian North Airlines posted this image on Twitter of a dog they let ride in the cabin during the evacuation

Canadian North Airlines posted this image on Twitter of a dog they let ride in the cabin during the evacuation

A flight attendant uploaded this image of Canadian North Airlines' 'smallest passenger yet', showing a tortoise experiencing life in the cabin

A flight attendant uploaded this image of Canadian North Airlines' 'smallest passenger yet', showing a tortoise experiencing life in the cabin

Twitter user ‎@January82, who was allowed to bring her four-legged friends on a flight with her, tweeted her appreciation. 

She wrote: 'After having the dogs on my lap w/ amazing @CanadianNorth I'm not sure how them, or me, will go back to kennels under the seat.' 

Many of evacuees, are being flown to either Calgary or Edmonton and the Canadian North website says that they have operated extra flights to help the large number of evacuees. 

The website says: 'We are proud to do all we can to serve those in need, and will work hard until this crisis subsides, with the safety of our passengers and crew members always our number one priority.'  

Fire officials have begun assessing the damage in Fort McMurray, after a raging fire blasted through the Alberta, Canada city and reduced at lease two of its neighborhood to ashes. Pictured on Monday, crews working in the Waterways neighborhood

Fire officials have begun assessing the damage in Fort McMurray, after a raging fire blasted through the Alberta, Canada city and reduced at lease two of its neighborhood to ashes. Pictured on Monday, crews working in the Waterways neighborhood

Meanwhile in the Fort McMurray area, gas has been turned off, the power grid is damaged and water is undrinkable. 

More than 250 power company workers are trying to restore the grid and assess the gas infrastructure.

It remains unclear when residents will be able to return to Fort McMurray,The Atlantic reported, and education officials have told parents who had to leave the town to register their children in other schools. 

More than 40 journalists were also allowed into Fort McMurray on a bus escorted by police and witnessed the damage on Monday, as Allen referred to the blaze as 'a beast'. Pictured on Monday, burned out buildings seen during the media tour

More than 40 journalists were also allowed into Fort McMurray on a bus escorted by police and witnessed the damage on Monday, as Allen referred to the blaze as 'a beast'. Pictured on Monday, burned out buildings seen during the media tour

More than 1,200 firefighters, 110 helicopters, 295 pieces of heavy equipment, and 27 air tankers were used to fight fires across the province. Pictured, a member of Wildfire Management Alberta hoses down hotspots in the Parsons Creek area of Fort McMurray last week

More than 1,200 firefighters, 110 helicopters, 295 pieces of heavy equipment, and 27 air tankers were used to fight fires across the province. Pictured, a member of Wildfire Management Alberta hoses down hotspots in the Parsons Creek area of Fort McMurray last week

 

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