Published: Fri, February 09, 2018
Markets | By Noel Gibbs

Student Claims Spirit Airlines Forced Her To Drown 'Emotional Support' Hamster

Student Claims Spirit Airlines Forced Her To Drown 'Emotional Support' Hamster

A U.S. university student is considering suing Spirit Airlines after it refused to allow her pet hamster on a flight, forcing her to flush the animal down an airport toilet. Aldecosea and Pebbles were allowed to check in for their flight without a hitch (emotional support animals are technically allowed to fly at the discretion of the airline in question). After arriving at Baltimore/Washington International Thurgood Marshall Airport on November 21, everything seemed to be going as planned until a Spirit Airlines employee approached her saying the animal was not allowed, Goodman says. Aldecosea said she did not have many options since her family was in Florida and her friends were hours away.

Aldecosea claimed to the Herald that a representative with Spirit Airlines suggested she flush her pet down the toilet, a claim Spirit Airlines has denied.

Aldecosea said that she wasn't able to leave the airport and book a later flight because of a medical issue.

Belen insists she checked auto hire and Greyhound bus options before killing Pebbles, and claimed flushing him was kinder than letting him free where he would freeze or be hit by a vehicle.

"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 spokesman Derek Dombrowski said.

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"She was scared", Aldecosea told the Miami Herald.

"It is incredibly disheartening to hear that this guest reportedly made a decision to end her own pet's life", Dombrowski said, The Washington Post reported.

However, when she arrived in Baltimore on her way to Fort Lauderdale, she said she was told differently.

Goodman was referencing a similar case in which a woman couldn't bring her emotional-support peacock on a United flight.

"Hamsters are welcome in our checkpoint", TSA spokeswoman Sari Koshetz told the newspaper.

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She told the paper she flushed the hamster.

"Our records indicate the guest took that later flight with no further incident", Dombrowksi said.

Dombrowski denied that an employee suggested that Aldecosea flush the hamster down the toilet.

It's up to airlines whether they allow hamsters on board. "This was a tiny cute harmless hamster that could fit in the palm of her hand", he said, the Herald reports. Federal regulations allow them, as long as they are not too big or exotic - but airlines can ask for a doctor's note verifying that the passenger needs the animal.

Pebbles was a certified support animal. Delta also recently expanded its list of animals that are barred from flying to include farm poultry, hedgehogs and anything with tusks. On Tuesday's the site's website crashed and customers were unable to book flights.

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