When Pigs [Don’t] Fly: Woman Ordered Off Flight With 70 Pound Pig

HT_when_pigs_fly_sk_141127_16x9_992A woman on a USAIR flight to Washington at Bradley International Airport was ordered off a flight after she carried on her 70-pound pig service animal. The woman said that the pig was needed to deal with her anxiety issues.

The anxiety of passengers however peaked when the pig pooped in the aisle and began to squeal.

Emotional support animals are allowed on commercial flights under federal rules. Notably, in June 2004, the FAA felt the need to issue a bulletin on “guidance about unusual service animals.” As a general rule, such animals are allowed to sit at the feet of a passenger or in some cases on his or her lap:

A. Placement. A service animal may be placed at the feet of a person with a disability at any bulkhead seat or in any other seat as long as when the animal is seated/placed/curled up on the floor, no part of the animal extends into the main aisle(s)of the aircraft, the service animal is not at an emergency exit seat and the service animal does not extend into the foot space of another passenger seated nearby who does not wish to share foot space with the service animal.

B. Placement of lap held service animals. Lap held service animals (such as a monkey used by a person with mobility impairments) are discussed in the preamble to DOT Part 382 Nondiscrimination on the Basis of Disability in Air Travel, issued in 1990(FR Vol. 55, No. 44 361990, pg. 8042). They are service animals that need to be in a persons lap to perform a service for that person. This service animal may sit in that persons lap for all phases of flight including ground movement, take off and landing provided that the service animal is no larger than a lap-held child (a child who has not reached his or her second birthday).

This rule does not apply to certain “unusual animals”:

Unusual Service Animals. On May 9, 2003, the Department of Transportation issued Guidance Concerning Service Animals in Air Transportation. Unusual service animals pose unavoidable safety and/or public health concerns and airlines are not required to transport them. Snakes, other reptiles, ferrets, rodents, and spiders certainly fall within this category of animals. The release of such an animal in the aircraft cabin could result in a direct threat to the health or safety of passengers and crewmembers. For these reasons, airlines are not required to transport these types of service animals in the cabin, and carriage in the cargo hold will be in accordance with company policies on the carriage of animals generally.

Now here is the interesting factoid. Pigs are expressly mentioned as permitted on a case-by-base basis:

Other unusual animals such as miniature horses, pigs and monkeys should be evaluated on a case-by-case basis. Factors to consider are the animals size, weight, state and foreign country restrictions, and whether or not the animal would pose a direct threat to the health or safety of others, or cause a fundamental alteration (significant disruption) in the cabin service. If none of these factors apply, the animal may accompany the passenger in the cabin. In most other situations, the animal should be carried in the cargo hold in accordance with company policy.

The large pooping, squealing pig was reject in this case to the relief of the other passengers.


Source: ABC News

40 thoughts on “When Pigs [Don’t] Fly: Woman Ordered Off Flight With 70 Pound Pig”

  1. I flew our cat with us (tranquillized with a doctor certificate, in a small crate fitting under the seat). I’ll be honest because you’ll get a laugh. The cat cost $30, round trip; kennel for two weeks $15 a day. He stayed with my mother in CA. Flew him one-way when we moved back to CA. But, I had to make all the arrangements in advance. Had she bought the pig a ticket? I would never fly an animal in luggage. My friend’s dog arrived in the crate, DEAD!

    I had another experience when a stewardess told a couple their dog had to fly in luggage because the pilot didn’t want animals in the passenger section. It was quite a circus. Dog owners fighting with the staff showing all the papers, etc. Then all dog owners started yelling at the crew. Finally, the manager of American’s local office came on board assuring they would be refunded and another flight was due in 2 hours. They had verified the next pilot had no problem with a small dog. So they got off, angry passengers got a free drink.

    The sitting in lap thing is new. We flew red-eye home, and I took him out to be next to me. A Stewardess saw, but said if no noise it was OK. Reagan was President then, so all was right in the world.

  2. They should not let doctors onto planes. On the 8th Day God Created Dog and Sent Him To Earth To Watch Over Mankind. Dogs created Pig Latin to get humans past WordPress. Piggly Wiggly becomes igglyPay igglyWay. itchinBayDog can post a comment. astardBays can rant in peace and go about their business without having a married mom and dad. If you have ever walked through a Walmart in North Carolina you will support a rule for keeping pigs out of public places. Jeso. Randy Newman had a song about Short People and if you transpose the word Fat for Short then you get the idea. That poor little piglet on that plane would be no worse than the loud itchBay from New York who is barking Turdy Turd and a Turd into her cell phone.

  3. I would have small pigs on all my planes if I was the owner of an airline. I believe it would be safe from attack by our Muslim friends who find pigs objectionable and unclean.

    I fly Swine Airlines and always arrive safely.

    I keep a feotal pig in my carryon just in case.

  4. This case is just screaming out for some ham handed attempt by a Senator to toss a little bit of pork toward his or her favorite university to study how often pigs are used for comfort animals, instead of comfort food. But I suppose in these times of austerity bringing home the bacon isn’t the same as it used to be.

  5. It seems to me the pig would add more anxiety and stress than it would relieve.

  6. Why couldn’t this tramp stamped bimbo just take a valium and double vodka like millions of people afraid to fly do all the time?

  7. Bailers, Great point about those Wi. docs excusing teachers blatantly and proudly.

  8. rafflaw
    70 pound comfort pig? If a legitimate doctor can provide a “prescription” for the animal, I have no problems

    Having lived in Wisconsin during the ACT10 protests at the state capital, and seeing the doctors (actual licensed doctors) give out notes for people to excuse them from work, you’ll excuse my skepticism of doctors ethics in some cases.

  9. Squeeky:

    There has been some concerns that certain anxiety meds were linked to some of these mass shootings. Some carry warnings that they can cause suicidal thoughts. The list of side effects on the commercials is daunting for at least some of them. And they can have serious side effects in the young.

    I do not know if meds were contributory to any of the killings, but I’m concerned enough that I want the topic studied further on how they can affect behavior.

  10. @Pogo

    Great comment at 8:33 AM! This “anxiety” stuff is way out of whack. There are doctors who prescribe Xanax for young men with various “anxiety disorders”, and it is downhill from there for them. They walk around with a goofy look on their faces, and the daily dose just goes up and up and up, whether legally or illegally. Or, they sell the stuff.

    Squeeky Fromm
    Girl Reporter

  11. For chrissake raff!! You can get “legit” docs to write an RX for virtually anything. Docs hate confrontation. A patient insists, a doc relents. Just what world do you live in??

  12. Johan:

    What a wonderful opportunity to cuddle one of our nation’s canine heroes. Search and rescue, K-9s, and military dogs are heroes in my opinion. 🙂

  13. I have heard of unusual service animals like mini horses or hens. The problem is that they must be diapered. And, in the case of a horse, there is always the risk that he may spook and run over someone with his tiny, cute little hooves. (I find minis adorable, as long as they’re not dwarfish.)

    Pigs are very like dogs in affection and intelligence. Well, dogs that like to root around and ruin your garden. The issue with the pot bellied pig is that it clearly wasn’t diapered. And a service animal should be quiet and gentle and a portable size. If it was squealing loudly in displeasure or anxiety, it was unsuitable to be a service animal companion in public. Some animals can be very soothing in the home, but not appropriate to bring in public. My 2600 lb draft horse gentle giant is an excellent example. Very quiet and sweet, but not exactly suited to squeeze onto a bus or a plane.

    I had a hen that followed us around like a dog, came when I called her, and kept trying to get into the house, following us from window to window. She would sit on your lap for forever if you let her. She would have made a lovely service animal, if properly diapered.

    I have to add that if that piggy weighed 70 pounds, his owner is quite strong to be able to heft him over her shoulder like that.

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