Airline Told Me to Flush Support Hamster Down Toilet, Flier Says

Feb 09, 2018, 01:56
Airline Told Me to Flush Support Hamster Down Toilet, Flier Says

According to the Miami Herald, Belen Aldecosea was flying home to South Florida and called Spirit Airlines twice to make sure her emotional support hamster, Pebbles, would be allowed on the plane.

According to the Miami Herald, Aldecosea agonised over the decision for hours and unsuccessfully tried to rent a auto before eventually choosing to do the unthinkable. The mistake was repeated, Aldecosea said, when she showed up for the flight on November 21: a Spirit agent checked in her and Pebbles without stopping them.

Aldecosea says she emailed Spirit to complain after the incident and the airline offered her a voucher for a free flight to specific cities, which she declined.

Aldecosea eventually flushed Pebbles down the toilet after she was unable to find someone to take the hamster or rent a auto to drive instead of flying, the attorney says.

"Her description of the scene is flat-out horrific: "[Pebbles] was scared. "It was like she knew I needed somebody". "I was emotional. I was crying".

She told the newspaper she cried in a restroom stall for 10 minutes after feeling that she had no choice but to flush Pebbles.

Aldecosea said she ran through her options-rental auto agencies didn't have any availabilities, and the 21-year-old was too young to rent a vehicle anyway.

The airline denied the allegations in a statement but acknowledged that a representative incorrectly assured her days ahead of time that Pebbles was cleared to fly.

This case is different, said her Florida attorney, Adam Goodman.

"I didn't have any other options", she said. A Spirit staffer, she claims, suggested she either let the hamster free outside, or flush her down a toilet. Aldecosea tried multiple times to get Pebbles back to her school safely.

The Transportation Safety Administration, TSA, permits hamsters past security; the pens are sent through the X-beam while the proprietors grasp the creatures as the stroll through the metal finders.

Guidance states: 'Hamsters are welcome in our checkpoint.

She was traveling to Fort Lauderdale to have a large growth removed from her neck - which was one of the reasons she got Pebbles the hamster to begin with.

"After researching this incident, 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", he said. She was told Pebbles couldn't go with her.

Airlines are convinced that some emotional support animals abuse the rules, especially when most passengers often have to pay $125 or more each way to bring a small pet on board.

Emotional-support animals - and what rights passengers have to bring them on planes - have been a nagging issue for airlines. Goodman will represent Aldecosea should she decide to follow through with a lawsuit.

"I didn't have any other options", she said.