Friday, February 09, 2018

Airline makes woman flush her hamster down the toilet

A woman in Florida says an airline told her to flush her hamster down an airport toilet because the emotional support rodent wasn't allowed to fly with her. The Miami Herald reports Belen Aldecosea flew home from college to South Florida, having twice called Spirit Airlines to ensure she could bring Pebbles, her pet dwarf hamster with her on the flight. But when Aldecosea arrived at Baltimore airport, Spirit refused to allow the animal onboard. The 21-year-old told the paper she flushed Pebbles at an airline employee's suggestion, after running out of other options.

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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 approached the security checkpoint, a second Spirit employee chased her down, hollering that rodents weren't allowed. Aldecosea said Spirit agents told her she couldn't put the hamster in the cargo hold either.

After hectic discussions, an outraged Aldecosea accepted a flight later that day. She said she had no friends or family in town to pick up Pebbles. It was then, Aldecosea insists, that an employee suggested letting Pebbles go free outside or flushing her down the toilet.

Panicked and needing to return home promptly to deal with a medical issue, Aldecosea was unable to rent a car and agonised for hours.

"She was scared. I was scared. It was horrifying trying to put her in the toilet," Aldecosea said. "I was emotional. I was crying. I sat there for a good 10 minutes crying in the stall."

A spokesman for Spirit acknowledged the airline mistakenly told Aldecosea that Pebbles was allowed. But he denied that a Spirit employee recommended flushing her pet in an airport restroom.

"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," spokesman Derek Dombrowski said.

But Aldecosea said she's considering suing Spirit over the conflicting instructions that pressured her into making the decision.

She said she considered it more humane to end her life right away, and not let her run around scared in the cold, only to die getting hit by a car.

"I didn't have any other options," she said.

Comments

I feel awful for this girl. Airlines are just the worst.

#1 | Posted by BruceBanner at 2018-02-09 12:01 PM

I dont know. But something about this doesnt sound right.

And I guess it seems more stupid to me because this woman is whining and crying over a furry rat. And that she flushed it. Releasing it would have been better as it could have fended for itself. Is this what we are bringing ourselves to stop life and cry over?

Something is wrong about this and it aint the airline.

#2 | Posted by boaz at 2018-02-09 12:49 PM

Another reason why the IRS has higher consumer ratings than airlines.

#3 | Posted by 726 at 2018-02-09 02:36 PM

what was the medical emergency? w/o knowing that, she "sounds" as bad as the airlines, ...worse, she actually did it.

#4 | Posted by ichiro at 2018-02-09 02:44 PM

First as a pet lover I would have missed my flight before I killed my beloved pet. Second I want to see the certificate that this was a certified service animal. This does not pass the smell test.

#5 | Posted by gracieamazed at 2018-02-09 04:00 PM

"Dont do that. I'll take care of the little fellow."

-Richard Gere

#6 | Posted by HanoverFist at 2018-02-09 04:17 PM

I want to see the certificate that this was a certified service animal.

It wasn't a service animal. It was a support animal. There is a difference. A support animal is prescribed to someone with either a mental illness or some kind of emotional handicap (for example, a cancer scare). A support animal can be any animal and needs no special training. Airlines (and other public areas, such as apartments, etc) are require by law to make allowances for support animals so long as the animal does not pose a potential threat to the safety of other passengers or residents. The airline is in the wrong.

#7 | Posted by RevDarko at 2018-02-09 04:27 PM

#7, I could see a hamster posing a threat (chewing through wires) to an airplane if it somehow escaped.

#8 | Posted by Pirate at 2018-02-09 05:49 PM

#7 Fair enough, I want to see the RX that this was a support animal. A loose hamster on a plane IMHO would pose a threat. You don't murder your service/support animals you reschedule your flight.

#9 | Posted by gracieamazed at 2018-02-09 05:55 PM

You don't murder your service/support animals you reschedule your flight.

#9 | Posted by gracieamazed

I would have bitten it's head off and handed it to her to dispose of.

That is probably why they don't let me around any support hamsters.

OOHRAH!

#10 | Posted by donnerboy at 2018-02-09 06:02 PM

#10 Damnit that made me LOL.

#11 | Posted by gracieamazed at 2018-02-09 06:08 PM

A loose hamster on a plane IMHO would pose a threat. You don't murder your service/support animals you reschedule your flight.

Yes, a loose hamster on a plane WOULD be a threat. Fortunately, this hamster was caged.

As for the last part, as someone with support animal (dog to assist with bipolar and rage issues) I would agree with you, however, support animals are often prescribed for people who have SERIOUS emotional difficulties, as such, they may not be able to handle the accompanying stress of what the airline was pressuring her to do. Hence, again, the airline is in the wrong.

#12 | Posted by RevDarko at 2018-02-09 06:34 PM

Man I sure hope ISIS isn't reading this thread and learning about the clear and present danger that hamsters pose to commercial aircraft.

Hamsters on a Plane, Peace Be Upon His Name, Allah Akbar.

#13 | Posted by snoofy at 2018-02-09 06:52 PM

...the clear and present danger that hamsters pose to commercial aircraft.

Every commercial aircraft is designed with a rodent-sized passageway leading straight into the reactor core.

#14 | Posted by REDIAL at 2018-02-09 07:26 PM

"I was emotional. I was crying. I sat there for a good 10 minutes crying in the stall."

I sat there for 10 minutes, Christ what did she do crap on him too.

#15 | Posted by patron at 2018-02-09 07:55 PM

Airline makes woman flush her hamster down the toilet

First Richard Gere.

Now this.

When will it ever end?

#16 | Posted by Hans at 2018-02-09 08:06 PM

so what happens when the comfort rat freaks out the person in the next seat given that 1/2 the population hates rats. I know. It's the airline's fault.

#17 | Posted by bogey1355 at 2018-02-09 09:30 PM

Rats have tails, BOGEY. Hamsters don't.

#18 | Posted by rstybeach11 at 2018-02-09 09:34 PM

Rats. Mice. whatever. They are all rodents who freak 1/2 the population out What's next? Comfort python? And a what point does one person's need to have a comfort rat, dog, peacock, whatever...outweigh another person's fear of or disdain for them? Bottom line...accomodation only goes so far.

#19 | Posted by bogey1355 at 2018-02-09 09:52 PM

They are all rodents who freak 1/2 the population out...

I'd love to see your data to back that statement up.

#20 | Posted by REDIAL at 2018-02-09 10:00 PM

Bogey:
funny you should mention "comfort peacock"...
www.washingtonpost.com

#21 | Posted by e1g1 at 2018-02-09 10:07 PM

"And a what point does one person's need to have a comfort rat, dog, peacock, whatever...outweigh another person's fear of or disdain for them?"

Imagine, a tough guy like you being afraid of a hamster.

#22 | Posted by snoofy at 2018-02-09 10:20 PM

They are all rodents who freak 1/2 the population out...

I'd love to see your data to back that statement up.

Ask your wife and kids or maybe put out a survey. There have been plenty about rats, snakes, bees, etc.

#23 | Posted by bogey1355 at 2018-02-09 11:16 PM

Snooty,

I never claimed to be a "tough guy". I do have serious concern over superseding one person's "rights" over another's.

#24 | Posted by bogey1355 at 2018-02-09 11:19 PM

Ask your wife and kids or maybe put out a survey.

You're expecting me to back up your statement that I questioned?

I don't think that's how it works.

#25 | Posted by REDIAL at 2018-02-09 11:45 PM

"I never claimed to be a "tough guy". I do have serious concern over superseding one person's "rights" over another's."

I'm sure your fear of hamsters can be accomodated via re-seating.

Or are you so afraid of "hamsters" you can't fly on the same plane with one?

#26 | Posted by snoofy at 2018-02-10 01:18 AM

This definitely was not an emotional support pet....no way would she flush it.

#27 | Posted by Crassus at 2018-02-10 01:43 AM

Why couldn't she shove the rat up her bum like Bon Jovi, etc?

Or does that only work with gerbils?

What's the difference between a hamster and a gerbil???

#28 | Posted by J_Tremain at 2018-02-10 03:02 AM

"
Goodman [her attorney] claimed adults advising his client on what to do -- in this case, the Spirit employee -- made it hard for her to make any other decision due to her age.

"This was a highly stressful situation and people react in a lot of different ways," he said. "She's only 21 years old, a kid still."

Goodman, however, revealed that his client has a new hamster, though she's still upset over the debacle.
"

Sounds like the little kid sociopath is already over this.

#29 | Posted by Snowfake at 2018-02-10 09:29 AM

"Or are you so afraid of "hamsters" you can't fly on the same plane with one?"

No, but my comfort elephant is. Hence, rodents should not be allowed on planes.

#30 | Posted by sentinel at 2018-02-10 11:31 AM

And there's no way I'd flush my elly down the toilet, so I'm also calling BS on this.

#31 | Posted by sentinel at 2018-02-10 11:33 AM

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