Another emotional support animal gets rejected — then flushed
Another emotional support animal is making headlines and causing grief for airlines.
United Airlines turned away a woman last month who was trying to fly out of Newark Liberty International Airport with a peacock, which she claimed she brought to give her comfort and support during the flight.
Spirit Airlines is now embroiled in a controversy over an emotional support hamster, which ended up being flushed down a toilet after the carrier refused to let it on a plane at the Baltimore-Washington International Airport.
The hamster’s owner, Belen Aldecosea, a college student who was flying home to Miami, said she called Spirit Airlines before her Nov. 21 flight and was assured she could bring along her miniature hamster, Pebbles, according to her attorney Adam Goodman.
When she got to the airport, a Spirit employee told her she could not bring the hamster on the plane and suggested she either release it outside of the terminal or flush it down the toilet, Goodman said.
Aldecosea flushed the creature, because she felt she had no other option, according to Goodman, who is considering legal action against the carrier.
In a statement, Spirit acknowledges that it erroneously told Aldecosea that she could bring the hamster but denied that anyone suggested she harm the animal.
“We can say confidently that at no point did any of our agents suggest this guest (or any other for that matter) should flush or otherwise injure an animal,” Spirit Airlines spokesman Derek Dombrowski said.
To read more about the travel and tourism industries, follow @hugomartin on Twitter.