Airline: FLUSH your Emotional Support Animal down the Toilet
Far be it from me to call BS on a story, but this one sounds almost too fake to be real. Multiple news sources are reporting this as a real thing. A South Florida woman was told by Spirit Airlines that if she wanted to board her flight, she’d have to flush her “emotional support” hamster down the toilet. Emotional Support Animals are now finding their way into the spotlight once again
A student named Belen Aldecosea said that she contacted Spirit Airlines twice to make sure that she could fly with the hamster, but when she arrived at Baltimore’s BWI airport she was told that she couldn’t board. Out of options she said that a Spirit Airlines employee suggested that she flush the little guy down an airport toilet.
Reports say that she tried to even rent a car to drive to Florida before she had to take the ultimate step… sending her buddy to an untimely death.
“She was scared. I was scared. It was horrifying trying to put her in the toilet,” Aldecosea said. “I was emotional. I was crying. I sat there for a good 10 minutes crying in the stall.”
She is now considering filing a lawsuit against Spirit Airlines. Spirit, of course, is vehemently denying that they would ever tell anyone to flush their pet down the toilet to board a flight.
We’re no strangers to “Emotional Support” animals on flights, as we wrote a very controversial post on this some time ago
. The dog on board the flight was barking and lunging at passengers, creating a danger to passengers. The owner ended up sleeping on the floor of the plane with the dog. Unreal.
Dog on a Plane
Shortly after that we also saw another “search and rescue” wiener dog… really? I mean come on…
You may have read about the emotional support peacock on a United flight. Belen’s lawyer argues that while the peacock could cause damage to other passengers, this tiny rodent would pose no such danger.
Here’s how it went down…
Belen called Spirit Airlines in the days before her pre-Thanksgiving flight, and Spirit Airlines, having listened to the calls, agrees that she did indeed receive information that she could fly with her pet. They also acknowledged that that rep “…unfortunately, did misinform the guest that a hamster was permitted to fly as an emotional support animal on Spirit Airlines,” spokesman Dombrowski wrote in an email.
She showed up to the airport and checked in but was approached by a Spirit Airlines employee later saying that rodents were not allowed on planes, neither above nor below in the cargo hold.
Ignoring that, she went through TSA without any problem, but the Spirit employees were persistent. Her friends were hours away and with no family nearby, she struggled. She considered letting the pet free outside, but didn’t want to let it run around in the cold winter in Maryland and get eaten or hit by a car. She tried calling rental car companies to drive but all were booked solid to head to Florida. This was Thanksgiving week afterall.
Emotional Support Hamster, courtesy of MiamiHerald.com
No Rodents Allowed
It’s not just Spirit Airlines. Delta, United, American and others don’t allow rodents on their flights citing safety concerns. Other emotional support animals and service animals are allowed, but no service rats, emotional support ferrets, or others.
It’s definitely a point of contention among travelers and pet lovers alike.
What would you have done, faced with this horrible decision? Continue the Discussion Below.