This is Mark Halperin, a journalist with NBC News. A sworn enemy of all things fun, he's best known right now as the host of The Circus, a weekly program on Showtime that explores trending political news in a dry and snooze-inducing fashion.
First-Class Passenger Refuses To Sit Next To Cute Dog For This Alarming Reason
Last Friday night, the Harvard-educated writer and editor settled into his first class seat on a red-eye flight.
Assigned to the berth on the left was a very good and very sweet service dog: Charlie, a bow tied (!!!) bernadoodle. And to his right, on the opposite side of the aisle? Charlie's human, Anthony Pisano, a flight attendant with the airline.
Displeased with being the filling in a dog-human sandwich, Halperin jumped on Twitter — where he has 315,000+ followers — to express his unhappiness with the airline.
Because the microblogging platform is nothing if not pro-doggo, that was a HUGE mistake: Users promptly dragged the political pundit with a flurry of hilarious responses that grounded his petty complaining in a no-fly zone.
Incredulous questions were posed.
Roles were reversed...
...and advice dispensed.
Some shared their flying preferences...
...while others graded Charlie for cuteness.
Tallies were tabbed...
...and requests requested.
Recognizing that he had stirred Twitter's collective ire, Halperin tried to backpedal away from his very bad take with a boilerplate apology:
"This dog is cute & service, companion & emotional support dogs= best souls on Earth.Point was,on long flt Delta sat dog apart from its owner"
He also claimed, in a response to a question, that he had offered to swap seats with Pisano.
After festering uneasily over the weekend, the canine controversy appeared ready to fade into the Internet ether.
But then there was a twist: Charlie the dog extended an olive branch to Halpern on — you guessed it — Twitter.
At the same time, she also pushed back on the reporter's account of how things went down.
"To set the record straight. We happily moved seats after Mr. Halperin refused to sit next to a dog."
In an interview with Slate, Pisano recapped his side of the story — and it varies sharply from Halperin's.
"So it was the 10:45 red eye on delta. in first class the seating arrangement was A-BC-D seating. I had purchased 6A and 6B and Halperin was in 6C. The dog and I fly back and forth from California to NY 2–3 times a month. I am always aware to make sure to get the dog her own seat (she lays on the floor and sleeps) to ensure she doesn't encroach anyone's personal space. So I put Charlie (the dog) in 6A where she was great. She was in arms reach and everything was cool. Right before we took off the dog came and sat in between my legs for take off so she was secured. At this point halperin (I had no idea who he was) calls for a flight attendant and tells her that he refuses to sit next to a dog. Those were his exact words. At that point I noticed he took a picture of the dog which I just ignored. Next thing you know the lead flight attendant asked if I minded giving halperin 6A. It was so strange he wouldn't even look or speak to me about it. If he would have asked me I would have obliged, no big deal. I couldn't believe how rude this guy was carrying on as I sat right next to him. So I obliged, he moved into 6A and left his shoes and a mess in his little first class cubicle area. I politely brought him his shoes and belongings to which he literally looked the other way and that was that. I then woke up this morning to a friend sending me the article and was in shock reading his tweets. Mind you Delta did absolutely nothing wrong, the flight attendant were extremely accommodating to his wishes all while trying to make sure I wasn't upset in any way. They handled the situation kindly and professionally."
In the end, it's a he-said, dog-said scenario, but Halpern's tone-deaf tweets were ill-considered no matter how inconvenienced he was (that's to say he really wasn't).
Let this be a lesson to us all: If you find yourself seated next to a service dog sporting a bow tie at 30,000 feet, do the right thing and keep any bellyaching to yourself!
Have you traveled with your service dog? Tell us about it in the comments below!