Texas State student: Airline told me to flush pet hamster at BWI

Ivan Schwartz
February 9, 2018

A college student is considering taking legal action against Spirit Airlines, alleging the airline misinformed her before an employee later pressured her to flush her emotional support hamster down a toilet or let it go free since it wasn't allowed on the plane.

Aldecosea said she called the carrier Spirit Airlines ahead of time to ask if she could bring Pebbles on the flight.

The student said that an airline employee advised that her only options were to flush the animal down the toilet or let it loose outside, despite being assured in advance the hamster could fly with her.

With her family in Florida and friends hours away, Aldecosea said, she had few options.

Aldecosea said she e-mailed the airline to complain and they offered her a voucher for a free flight to certain cities, which she declined.

Having to say goodbye to your beloved pet when you're flying home is heartbreaking enough, but you have to feel sorry for one "emotional support hamster" who ended up being more than left behind.

Spirit accepted Belen had been given misinformation, but a spokesman added: 'To be clear, 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 told the Herald that did not happen, but the damage was done; Aldecosea took the hamster into an airport stall and actually did it.

"It is incredibly disheartening to hear this guest reportedly chose to end her own pet's life", Dombrowksi's statement continued.

But Aldecosea's attorney said the cases are different.

Texas State student: Airline told me to flush pet hamster at BWI

The incident happened back in November, but Ms Aldecosa chose to share her story after a similar tale regarding an "emotional support" peacock went viral last week.

A Transportation Security Administration spokesperson also confirmed to the newspaper that hamsters are welcome through TSA checkpoints. Employees told her she could not put the hamster in the cargo hold either, the Herald said.

It's up to airlines whether they allow hamsters on board.

Spirit's support animal guidelines say that the airline does not accept rodents.

"She was scared. I was scared", Aldecosea told the paper. "Our records indicate she was scheduled to take the 10:39 am flight on November 21, but ended up taking the 7:42 pm flight that day".

However, it is up to individual airlines to decide what animals are allowed on on board its planes.

While guide dogs have been occasional flyers for years, there have recently been a surge of emotional-support animals.

Most major USA airlines, however, don't allow rodents on flights over concerns about health and safety.

Animals on flights have become controversial in recent years.

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