In America the rules surrounding animals on planes are quite liberal. For example, Frontier Airlines are happy to welcome emotional-support and service-trained animals such as cats, dogs, and even miniature horses.
Well, who would have guessed it — this policy has caused some problems.
A few days ago, a passenger attempted to bring her ’emotional-support’ squirrel on board a flight from Orlando to Cleveland. The airline staff kicked her off the flight, but it didn’t happen without a fight.
If you want to get technical — and Frontier Airlines certainly does — emotional-support animals aren’t actually covered under the Americans With Disabilities Act. Their acceptance of the furry little critters is more of a kind gesture rather than a legal obligation.
This means that businesses are within their rights to turn them away. And that’s exactly what happened.
Frontier decided that they drew the line at admitting bushy-tailed rodents. It sounds fair enough to me.
In a statement, Frontier said:
“On flight 1612 from Orlando to Cleveland this evening, a passenger boarded the aircraft with a squirrel saying it was an emotional support animal. The passenger noted in their reservation that they were bringing an emotional support animal but it was not indicated that it was a squirrel. Rodents, including squirrels, are not allowed on Frontier flights.
The passenger was advised of the policy and asked to deplane. When she refused to deplane Orlando Police were called and requested that everyone be deplaned so they could deal with the passenger. Police eventually escorted the passenger off the aircraft and took her to the main terminal.”
Frontier Airlines has been known to adorn its aeroplanes with images of animals, even once featuring ‘Sammy the Squirrel’ on its tail. It’s such a shame at the aircraft in question wasn’t featuring Sammy. I guess it would have been too good to be true.
A bevy of videos were swiftly posted to Twitter showing the crowd of passengers that were forced to get off the plane in order for authorities to deal with the situation.
But the most interesting (and funniest) video shows the woman being escorted from the plane.
A spokeswoman for the Association of Flight Attendants, Taylor Garland, told The Post that the new policies regarding emotional-support animals are creating real issues:
“The aircraft cabin is a unique space, and …we need to recognise the limitations that exist when you’re flying in the air in a metal tube.”
Squirrels definitely exist beyond those limitations.