A college student says that Spirit Airlines told her when she made her flight reservation that she could bring her emotional support hamster named Pebbles onboard the plane. She bought Pebbles after a golf ball-sized lump developed on her neck and led to a cancer scare.
She traveled to have the growth removed, and brought her hamster with her. Spirit acknowledges that their agent told the woman this would be ok.
When she checked in for her flight at BWI an airline employee approached her to say that Pebbles wouldn’t be allowed onto the aircraft.
When Aldecosea showed up that day, she said, the first Spirit agent checked her emotional support pet in with no problem. Pebbles was in a small cage that fit regulations for carry-on luggage.
…But as she walked toward the security checkpoint, a second Spirit employee chased her down, hollering that rodents were not allowed. She said Spirit agents told her she could not put the hamster in the cargo hold either.
The student says she was told to either set the hamster free or flush it.
- The airline rebooked her onto a later flight
- She spent several hours trying to figure out what to do. She couldn’t get anyone to come to the airport in time, and she was too young to rent a car.
She decided “it was more merciful to end Pebbles’ life quickly, in a toilet, than to leave her suffering in the cold, unforgiving environment outside.”
For their part Spirit Airlines confirmed that they refused to allow the woman to bring her hamster on the plane but denies they told her to kill it.
After researching this incident, we can say confidently that at no point did any of our agents suggest this Guest … should flush or otherwise injure an animal. ..It is incredibly disheartening to hear this Guest reportedly decided to end her own pet’s life.
Spirit’s pet policy explicitly precludes rodents because they’re just too classy for that. And they’ve refused to offer any compensation.
Copyright: boarding1now / 123RF Stock Photo
Meanwhile the TSA has no problem with hamsters with a spokesperson saying that they are “happy to screen a hamster,” noting that “a hamster does not pose a security risk.”
This story makes me sad. Spirit acknowledges the hamster was at the airport because they said it was ok. If the woman needed the hamster, the trauma of figuring out on the spot what to do with it must have been doubly problematic. And flushing the hamsster down the toilet is just awful to think about. Fortunately BWI airport must have great pipes.