Gill and Warren Press were on the first leg of their journey from Europe to New Zealand, flying the 13 hours from Paris to Singapore with Singapore Airlines.
But the couple from Wellington quickly realised that their premium economy seats were next to a passenger with an emotional support dog who was making noises.
“I heard this noise – a heavy snorting,” Mrs Press told Stuff. “I thought it was my husband’s phone, but we looked down and realised it was the dog breathing.
“I said, ‘I’m not having this sitting next to us the whole trip’.”
When she asked a flight attendant whether they could move, Mrs Press was informed that the only seats available were at the back of economy class.
They stayed where they were, but claimed the smell became unbearable about halfway into the journey as the dog was “farting”, while the animal was allegedly taking up Mr Press’s legroom.
Mrs Press claimed the owner “couldn’t have the dog out in the aisle because they couldn’t get the trolleys through, so it had to come in further, which meant his head was under my husband’s feet.
“My husband was in shorts, and was getting the dog’s saliva goo on his leg.”
Mrs Press spoke to the flight attendant once more, who said the pair could now move to seats at the front of economy class that had previously been occupied by cabin crew but were now free.
Although they were told the incident would be logged and that the airline would be in touch, Mrs Press said they had heard nothing a week later.
She emailed in a complaint and was eventually offered a travel voucher of NZ$200 (£95) per passenger three weeks later.
However, Mrs Press has argued this is unacceptable and is now demanding a full refund. “We didn’t receive the experience we paid for,” she said.
A Singapore Airlines spokesperson said the carrier was directly in contact with the couple.
“Singapore Airlines endeavours to notify customers who may be seated next to an assistance dog prior to boarding the flight,” they said. “We sincerely apologise that this did not occur in this case, and will work with our airport teams to ensure that this lapse does not occur in future.
“In circumstances where customers seated next to an assistance dog request to be moved, Singapore Airlines will assist to re-seat customers within the same cabin where space permits.”