A Passenger Got A Court Order, Then Freaked Out When He Wasn’t Allowed To Fly With His Rabbit

A man was denied boarding by KLM when he tried to bring his rabbit on board a flight from São Paulo to Amsterdam on Thursday. He’d obtained a court order instructing KLM to allow him to travel, but airport staff disregarded the court ruling and the situation descended into chaos.

KLM normally doesn’t transport rabbits, only dogs and cats. The airline says there was an “internal misconception” and the court order should have been honored, though it’s not clear to me what his destination was and whether he would have been eligible to bring his rabbit into his country of final destination.

The passenger cursed employees – and in response was “beaten with punches” by staff. The man was “pushed and fell on top of the suitcase where the rabbit was.” He didn’t want to check the rabbit as cargo but fell on top of the rabbit, so that’s sort of ironic.

“Due to an internal company mistake, the exceptional transport of the animal in the aircraft cabin, based on a court decision, was not communicated to the flight crew in advance,” the company said.

“Unlike dogs and cats, rodent animals cannot be transported in the aircraft cabin for safety reasons, which is why passengers were not able to board the KLM flight this Thursday (11/18) in São Paulo with their rabbit ”, completed.

…KLM also said that it “deeply regrets that the situation has escalated to a disagreement at the embarkation point” and claims to condemn “any type of violent behavior by passengers and employees.”

Rabbits are not – in fact – rodents, but still not allowed under KLM policy though the airline acknowledged they’re subject to the order of the court and rebooked the passenger and his rabbit for travel on Friday, and the airline “obtained a second authorization from the Court for the rabbit Alfredo to board under police escort” (emphasis mine).

(HT: Carlos)

About Gary Leff

Gary Leff is one of the foremost experts in the field of miles, points, and frequent business travel - a topic he has covered since 2002. Co-founder of frequent flyer community InsideFlyer.com, emcee of the Freddie Awards, and named one of the "World's Top Travel Experts" by Conde' Nast Traveler (2010-Present) Gary has been a guest on most major news media, profiled in several top print publications, and published broadly on the topic of consumer loyalty. More About Gary »

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  1. Sorry but the airline staff really should be fired here. I don’t give a crap if the guy is cursing at you. YOU are supposed to be the professional and if you are screaming back at someone and then attacking them well then YOU obviously screwed up. Not to mention the guy had a court order so maybe you should have called a manager instead of getting in a huge argument. That one guy who kept shoving his finger in this person’s face was clearly the aggressor and made the situation worse.

  2. THE MINUTE I READ THIS: “tried to bring his rabbit on board a flight … airport staff disregarded the court ruling and the situation descended into chaos”, I SAID “UH HUH, THAT’S WHY THE GUY NEEDED THE RABBIT”. Things are getting out of control in the world I think … society may never recover from this virus disaster. People are just going nutso all the time, everywhere. We have to figure out ways to handle these out-of-kilter people before the situation escalates more.

  3. Yet another example of Brazil Man telling Florida Man: Hold my beer.

    Those wacky Brazilians, what will they come up with next?

  4. Since other mammals can catch COVID was the rabbit fully vaccinated and wearing a mask?

  5. If the airport agents were smart they would have rebooked him on a different airline, so the problematic passenger would become another airline issue.

  6. The judge is at fault. He/she should have first asked if the pax checked other airlines policy. If other carriers allowed them, fly with them. If none, rule him to far gone to even go anywhere due to him getting a court order to fly with a rabbit. The world doesn’t have long now.

  7. wow. I can’t believe anyone is taking a position against the passenger. People fly with their pets in the cabin all the time. Flying with your rabbit is no more unreasonable than flying with your dog. And actually, many people have pet rabbits, and don’t want to eat rabbit. (on the other hand, dogs are eaten in some places in the world). That’s all cultural bias.
    In this case, the man did have a court order telling the airline to allow the damn rabbit on board. (impressive that he got that) That’s the end of that. The story here is that he was mistreated.

    I have encountered unhinged airline agents like this myself. The only course of action is to disengage from the unhinged employee, and complain later, and possibly sue the airline if you have enough to make a case.

  8. Poor widdow snowflake wants his widdow wabbit and throws a tantrum when mommy tells his widdow self “no”.
    Perhaps that gate agent has had enough of these types ‘men’ who are really 3-year-olds who refuse to grow up.

  9. Has anyone thought to look at the requirements the EU has for importing live animals?

    In particular “ For importation, additional animal health requirements are set out in specific Commission Decisions. These lay down health certificates which must accompany all animal imports. In general, these certificates must be signed by an official veterinarian of the competent authority of the exporting non-EU country guaranteeing that the conditions for import into the EU have been met.

    On arrival in the EU, the animals and the accompanying certificates must be verified and checked by EU official veterinarians at a designated Border Control Post (BCP). Further checks on the animals may also be carried out at the final destination#

    Regardless of a Brazilian court order the airline must comply with these rules, or be subject to large fines. In case of illegal importation the animal is usually enthused to protect native animals.

    And I would not be happy with a potentially ill (including Rabies) animal in the cabin.

  10. @TeresaHeinz

    My family is originally from Virginia. I know very well the delicious taste of down south ‘Wabbit.’

    Excellent source of protein! 🙂

  11. who was the lady in the blue? she continued to go after the guy as he was being moved away from her by the other two or three people. That’s where I think she went wrong and enough to be fired.

  12. The rabbit would be unlikely to be admitted into the EU at AMS. If it did get admitted and they were not emigrating, how did the Brazilian passenger think he would get it back home? The Brazilian court order would be useless in the EU.

    Yelling, swearing profusely, and pointing fingers are all a part of the insanity of Brazil. A single video is inconclusive, but it looked like the passenger took the first swing. After that, all bets are are off and I would have gleefully beaten him to a pulp.

  13. Get your facts straight instead of a quick clickbait, Gary.

    The couple have managed to get all the sanitary and animal inspections approved. They even got permission to bring the rabbit to Ireland.
    They had to go to court because there was a chance that the rabbit would probably end up dead if it was put in the cargo hold. They even managed to retrieve cases that showed the high mortality rate of animals in the cargo hold. So the judge did approve the rabbit to be carried onboard.
    After this they managed to get approval from KLM.
    They arrived 10 hours before the flight just make sure everything was clear.
    Their final destination was Dublin. They were moving to Ireland.
    At boarding they were approached by the KLM staff and were told they would not be able to board…

    A day after this fight happened, they managed to fly (with KLM) with the rabbit onboard. They were upgraded to business class lol

  14. The moment the employees physically attack passengers (and for those of you who don’t speak Portuguese, threaten to kill them) the question is no longer the rabbit, the due authorizations or any of that. It is the fact that these employees should be fired and prosecuted. It is shocking that KLM is keeping them. SHOCKING.

  15. @ Ederson: I think KLM should transfer these employees to Miami so they could teach fellow gate agents how to win at smacking down rowdy passengers.

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