Girl Reunited With Her Pet Fish 3 Months After Leaving It Behind At The Airport

A Southwest Airlines passenger brought their fish to the Tampa airport. That’s not a pet you can check, and it’s not something that’s usually allowed on board either (though perhaps as an emotional support fish). Southwest only accepts small dogs and cats under its pet policy and doesn’t support pets as cargo.

What’s a passenger to do? Would you believe that a Southwest Airlines agent offered to keep the fish and care for it until the passenger returned? Oh, and this wasn’t the passenger’s home town – she had just finished her freshman year of college and wouldn’t be back for months. So the Southwest agent cared for the Beta fish for the entire summer.

They texted, and the incoming sophomore even got photos of her fish. Now she’s back in Tampa for her sophomore year – and she has her fish back.

In marked contrast, Spirit Airlines once forced a college student to flush her emotional support hamster down the toilet in order to fly. (TSA, for its part, said the hamster could proceed through security if the woman wished.)

Someone also once left behind a goldfish at a TSA checkpoint – after managing to get it past top notch screeners in more than 3 ounces of water.

I want to see more stories like this one from Southwest. In fact I want to see them from American Airlines, whose slogan is ‘caring for people on life’s journey’. Either that or I want Southwest to adopt the tagline, ‘Finding Nemo.’

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, 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. Impossible. Unions and good customer service don’t mix. Southwest employees are unionized. Fish sitting is nowhere in the agent’s job description. Surely the union would have grieved such employee abuse. Perhaps another employee filed a grievance claiming that fish sitting was her work. Fish-sitting pay will now be a demand in the next contract negotiations.

  2. Pre-9/11, I brought a bottle with a goldfish aboard United Airlines. The flight attendant gave me a pair of plastic wings even though I was adult height by then.

  3. Keeping fish in anything less than 10 gallon is animal abuse. Sure, bettas are very sturdy and can survive even in a coffee mug, but that doesn’t make it right.

  4. @Andy – Surprised you aren’t upset about the carbon footprint and water usage to keep betas alive. BETA LIVES MATTER

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