Spirit Airlines initially said it would be fine to bring the animal on the flight, but when the student arrived the staff told her she couldn’t bring her hamster Pebbles on-board.
Airlines have been cracking down on passengers being able to bring on emotional support animals. Mostly they types of animals that can be classified as emotional support animals.
The story happened last fall – a student from Florida, Belen Aldecosa requested to bring her pet dwarf hamster on an emergency flight home from college. Twice. She actually called Spirit Airlines TWICE to confirm that her pet would be allowed on board. The animal had been certified as an emotional support animal by a doctor prior to the flight.
But when she showed up for the flight, she was informed that no rodents were allowed on the flight.
She didn’t have time to have the animal picked up by someone locally, she also tried pushing the flight back and renting a car instead but was denied due to her age.
It was then she claims that a Spirit employee suggested she set her friend Pebbles free outside or flush him down the toilet. Not wanting Pebbles to be run over by a car or eaten by a predator, she opted for the latter.
“She was scared. I was scared. It was horrifying trying to put her in the toilet, […] I was emotional. I was crying. I sat there for a good 10 minutes crying in the stall.”
Days later Aldecosa sent an email to Spirit Airlines complaining of the incident. She has turned down vouchers and flight coupons and is now considering suing the airline.
A spokesperson for Spirit issued the following statement:
“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, […] It is incredibly disheartening to hear this guest reportedly decided to end her own pet’s life.”