Woman Strolls Through the Airport With Her Horse – Before Bringing It On a Regional Jet

Even when the Department of Transportation backing up airline efforts to crack down on emotional support animals, the DOT ruled that miniature horses have to be allowed on board

Here comes a woman, clearing security and then strolling through the airport with her horse. (Press play.)

This woman boarded an American Airlines regional jet to Omaha. Here’s a photo, via the AA Stews Instagram story, of the crew posing for a photo with the horse.

I’d say it’s time to see a man about a horse.

(HT: Several Readers, and my Instagram feed)

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 »

More articles by Gary Leff »



  1. My tiny cabin bag must fit under the seat, or it costs me money for something that used to be included in the ticket price!
    Stop this obscene practice. Ride the horse to your destination.
    Crying babies are bad enough, but horse sh+t!
    I’d want a refund.

  2. I personally don’t understand why any pets / service creature are allowed that aren’t in a carrier. It’s unsafe and unhygienic. Seriously though, where is a horse like that supposed to fit in a full plane without putting it’s behind in someone’s face?

  3. Mini horses on planes goes back a long way. For reasons unknown to me, back before “emotional support animals” were invented, and the only animals allowed on planes were actual service animals. In the old days, service animals were restricted to dogs (think seeing eye dogs for the blind) and mini horses. Why mini horses? I don’t know but it does go back a long way in the history of bringing animals into the passenger area of aircraft.

  4. If this aircraft makes a hard or emergency landing, this horse will become a projectile. It’s time for the FAA and DOT to put safety first.

  5. @Steve, such a good point. I had wondered a while back about the effect of these larger (or smaller, I suppose) animals on emergency evacuations. It would necessarily slow the process.

  6. Well, I guess we know it must be for support, it surely isn’t for riding. Come to think of it, which is the support animal?

  7. This horse is about the same size as one of the two large unfixed male dogs that was in the first cabin with me this Monday from SRQ-CLT-SEA on AA. Luckily o was in a different row both flights. I felt sorry for the neighbors next to the dogs on the first flight because one of the therapy dog gots very nervous, was barking, trying to climb in lap, and spilled the neighbors pre-departure beverage. When the owner tried to put a muzzle on that dog, it freaked out so he took it off. The other (bigger) dog was better behaved but with such a long torso that the guy next to him only had less than 1 foot of space for his legs. On the second flight the two giant dogs were sitting together. Fortunately the two unmuzzled beasts were quiet settled most of the time after take off except for a couple short outburst. By therapy dogs I wondered if it meant the dogs needed therapy or the seat mates would after the flights. I’m amazed that AA let them on.

    What’s next? How about a support silverback gorilla or a therapy bull elephants, or comfort hippopotamus.

  8. “In the old days, service animals were restricted to dogs (think seeing eye dogs for the blind) and mini horses. Why mini horses? I don’t know”

    Horses are as trainable as dogs, but can live and work considerably longer, and training a service animal requires a considerable investment.

  9. I think I need my husband as an emotional support pet!! How does this get free passage – no mention of the safety issues with that going down the shoot in an emergency!

  10. This is so fu**ing ridiculous. Aside from seeing eye dogs, animals should not be allowed in the cabin. Hard stop! If you need an ‘emotional’ support animal to fly, pay for a human to accompany you, or don’t fly.

  11. Maybe any animal not in a carrier should require a paid seat. Like children where under 2 is free or minimal charge but larger human animals require a seat. If I require a person to assist me, do they fly free?

  12. AA would have two things to worry about if I was expected to be anywhere near this animal. Either I am not going from the beginning, or when that thing does anything to me, the plane will be landing shortly thereafter.

  13. As our culture become more pathetic and obnoxiously “me” oriented, is this a siren call that we are emulating the Roman Empire—in its dying days?

    In essence, nothing more than a seeing eye dog should be allowed. ALL other animals should be prohibited, even if surcharges are ever implemented to respect the other paying passengers and public health regulations:

    1-Many people these days have allergies to animal hair and smells.
    2-Noxious smell of poop; how is it cleaned and area sanitized? Does the FA interrupt service for this task?
    3-Other passenger(s) at risk of being physically attacked; bitten; infected.
    4-If FAA requires children over two years to have their own seat, why is an animal different from becoming a projectile or injuring others?
    5-To what extent would animals interfere with emergency disembarkation? How many people would die or be injured because they could not get to the emergency slide fast enough?
    6-If the FAA has well established rules who can sit in the emergency row (e.g., over 15; not blind; not obese, etc), why should it be different having animals on board—anywhere but in checked luggage?

    Are these six points not more important than the self-absorbed “me” flyers who should be back on the bus? If so, when do we see appropriate action introduced by the unions and implemented by the FAA and USDOT?

  14. Why do “We the people” allow these loonies on board ?? Apparently the DOT is run by loonies.

  15. I am happy that people put up with me, as I am a persnickety flyer.

    Yet I have no problem to accommodate a passenger with a nut allergy. That is life or death.

    But I am allergic to pet dander. So I have a problem: do I accept my (and likely other passengers) pet allergies for a passenger that (in many cases) chooses not to put their pet in a kennel during a trip… or in a crate and pay for it as is required?

    If I should complain, then I will be the one taken off the flight and put on another (if available). How is THAT comparable with a life or death nut allergy?

    But a horse is a horse, of course (of course!) … and no one can get emotional comfort from a horse, of course,. Unless the horse is just another way to say: look at me! I am a unique snowflake!

    How about a little maturity on the part of these overgrown children?

  16. @Jane: u r funny. I’m happy to see that most people here like me have the same opinion about this crazy idea of allowing emotional support animals on board. The small group of selfish people puts their needs first and rules the majority of passengers; this is called “right the wrong” and should not have happened. These selfish people will have a bad karma sooner or later in their life time for sure.

  17. Wow, these comments! Flirty is a trained service horse, not an emotional support or comfort animal. Mini-horses and dogs are flight approved service animals in the USA. She is trained to assist her disabled (and dog allergic) owner at home and in public. She is also is potty trained, and as posted on her facebook page, did her business in a designated/approved place at the airports before and after her flight. This is no different than allowing a seeing eye dog on the plane, as in addition to assisting their handlers, they are trained to behave and be nonreactive to other people and/or animals in public . Stores, restaurants, museums, zoos, airplanes, etc – anywhere you can go, they can go too (and based on this comments section, they’re probably better behaved than many people these days). Maybe do some research next time before posting such incredibly rude and stupid comments. For the record, her handler was traveling with another person, so the mini stood in front of their two seats. Had Flirty’s handler been traveling alone, she would’ve purchased both seats so as to not take up someone else’s space. She was actually on this flight as part of a news story/documentary about service animals meant to educate the public. The amount of hate she’s getting, especially considering she took time out of her life to do this for others, is shocking to me. What a sad world we live in. 🙁

Comments are closed.