Honey Holliday has been a model traveler, except for the time she chewed her way out of a nylon pet carrier on a flight to Florida.
The 5-pound Morkie (Maltese-Yorkie mix) with blond hair began trotting down the aisle.
"She headed straight for the beverage cart," said owner Dan Holliday, 65, of O'Fallon. "We had a leash on her, so we stepped on it and that stopped her."
More and more people are taking dogs and cats on trips to avoid kennel fees and give them vacation time with the family.
Most airlines allow small pets, like Honey, to ride in passenger cabins. Owners board with pet carriers instead of carry-on bags.
"(The) container must be small enough to fit underneath the seat without blocking any person's path to the main aisle of the airplane," according to Federal Aviation Administration regulations.
Some airlines allow larger pets to be checked in with luggage and transported in cargo areas. Service animals can ride in cabins with disabled passengers, regardless of size.
"There is no limit to the number of service animals that can be on any flight," the FAA states. "Service animals do not need any health certificates to travel, and they do not need to be confined in a container or cage."
Dan and his wife, Sherryl, have a son, Nathan, who lives in California. Two-year-old Honey is the next best thing to a grandchild for the Hollidays.
"She's our baby," said Sherryl, 65, a retired English and literature teacher in O'Fallon. "She goes everywhere she can with us."
Honey has flown to or from Florida five times in the past two years. The Hollidays own a second home in Fort Myers.
They always book on Southwest because of its non-stop service. Honey can relieve herself beforehand and manage the 2 1/2-hour flight without going again.
"You have to make a reservation because they only allow six animals on a flight," Sherryl said. "And you can't make the reservation online. You have to call."
One-way prices range from $75 to $125 for small pets in cabins and $175 to $200 for large pets in cargo areas, depending on the airline.
Each company has its own rules for pet travel. Most insist that dogs and cats are quiet, well-behaved and odorless.
Honey's carrier escape occurred on her second flight. Afterward, the Hollidays bought a plastic and metal case to replace the nylon one.
They also followed vet orders by giving Honey a drop of Benadryl before each flight and spraying her carrier with Travel Calm, a natural oil mist that treats restlessness and upset stomach. She's been no trouble since.
"After she got out (of the carrier), I was afraid she would be put on the no-fly list," said Dan, who is retired from IBM. "I didn't want to see 'Honey Holliday' next to 'Osama bin Laden.'"
Honey is an attention-getter at airports. Adults think she's adorable, and kids can't resist petting her.
The Hollidays have discovered that most airports have animal comfort stations for dogs and cats.
The Transportation Securty Administration requires owners to hold pets while going through security and put carriers on belts for X-ray examination.
"You can't let (pets) touch the ground," Sherryl said, "or there's a $500 fine."