My Great Dane takes up two seats on a plane — I don’t care, I need her

Photo of author

By Dan Sears

This very good girl deserves an A in pet-iquette.

Airline passengers were shocked by the sight of an almost horse-sized Great Dane taking up her own row on a recent flight — but the colossal canine received high marks from her fellow flyers for being better behaved than some adults.

Traveler Gabriel Bogner, 27, was on his way to New York City from Los Angeles when his 5-year-old support dog Darwin suddenly found herself in the spotlight.

The 140-pound pooch required multiple seats to fit properly on the long-haul flight across the country — leaving some observers astounded as they boarded the plane.

“People were absolutely gobsmacked and shocked, but everyone was so excited to see her,” Bogner told South West News Service. “I’ve never seen so many people smiling at an airport.”

Darwin on airplane seat
Darwin was remarkably well-behaved, according to Bogner.
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Darwin laying across airplane seats
Footage shows the colossal canine lounging on the plane seats, as she was too big for cargo and the floor space.
Collab / SWNS

Adorable footage of Darwin’s great adventure has already scored 17.5 million views on TikTok. Video shot by Bogner shows the playful pup peeking into the plane’s cockpit and greeting fellow passengers as she made her way to her seat, err seats.

The trip to LaGuardia Airport on American Airlines marked Darwin’s first-ever flight, revealed Bogner, who joked it was “definitely a shocker for people walking through the airport to see a literal horse coming towards them.”

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“There were no issues, she was great and the entire crew was amazing,” said Bogner, who is moving to Brooklyn.

“They did joke that she got an upgrade and I didn’t, but it was a very smooth trip.”

On TikTok, Bogner explained that Darwin was deemed too big to fit in the airline’s largest crate in cargo and he was forced to purchase a row of seats to accommodate her.

After some time on the airplane floor, Bogner said the flight attendants allowed the gentle giant to lounge on the seats due to her size, which is rare considering the airline’s policy prohibits animals from occupying seats.

Meanwhile, animal lovers drooled over the behemoth pup.

“DANE ON A PLANE DANE ON A PLANE DANE ON A PLANE,” chanted one user in the comments.

“Baby next to me: mood ruined. Dog next to me: best flight,” argued another.

Darwin sitting on plane seats
Bogner was making the move to New York by plane, and needed to bring his loyal companion along.
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Great dane greeting pilots
As the gentle giant boarded the plane, she greeted the pilots and fellow passengers as she made her way to her seats.
Collab / SWNS

Better behaved then most adults on the flight,” quipped one person.

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“Being a flight attendant, this would be my favorite flight to work,” wrote someone else.

While most of the comments fawned over the mammoth mutt, a select few had a bone to pick with Bogner.

Apparently, some viewers were angered by Darwin’s status as a service dog due to her lack of formal training.

“I got Darwin as a puppy and immediately registered her as an emotional support animal due to a lot of anxiety just from growing up basically in a hospital and a lot of the trauma from having a chronic illness,” he said in a TikTok clip.

Bogner, who has detailed his battle with Crohn’s disease online, eventually trained Darwin himself to be a service animal, which his physicians decided qualified the pooch as a service dog.

According to the Americans With Disabilities Act website, service dogs can be any size or breed and must be “trained to perform a task directly related to a person’s disability.” However, they need not go through “professional training” nor wear an identification vest.

Darwin sitting on plane seats
While Darwin has not received professional training to be a service animal, Bogner has trained his pooch himself.
Collab / SWNS

Darwin walking down plane aisle
This was the pup’s first-ever in-air experience.
Collab / SWNS

Darwin putting her head over airplane seat
She even popped her head over the seats to greet fellow passengers.
Collab / SWNS

While she doesn’t perform many of the “advanced tasks” other service animals might, Darwin accompanies Bogner to the bathroom and soothes his stomach pain by placing her head on his abdomen to provide warmth and pressure to the area.

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Despite the critics calling Bogner a liar about Darwin’s service-animal status, the content creator thanked the kind users who showered his pet in puppy love.

“I struggle a lot in daily life with my disease, and reading most of your comments brought a huge smile to my face,” he said.

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