If you flew home for Thanksgiving, you probably expected some in-flight stress. But we’re betting you probably never even entertained the possibility of flying while seated next to an emotional support pig.
Sure, it’s one thing to take your emotional support pig to tea at the Four Seasons. But it’s a much bigger deal to have him sit on your lap for the flight from Bradley International Airport in Connecticut to Washington, D.C—especially when he’s probably about 70 pounds.
The day before Thanksgiving, the AP reports that this woman and her pig were kicked off a U.S. Airways flight before it took off, after the animal “became disruptive.”
University of Massachussetts professor Jonathan Skolnik was seated next to the woman and her porcine companion on the plane. Skolnik told the AP that he originally thought the woman had been carrying a duffel bag until he smelled a distinct stench.
In an email to the AP, he elaborated,
The woman sat down next to him and tethered her pig to the armrest. If you thought Skolnik’s story couldn’t escalate, it did.
Then all hell broke loose as the pig freaked out and started running up and down the aisle while his owner tried to clean up his mess.
Airline spokeswoman Laura Masvidal told CNN that it was at this point that the passenger was asked to deplane with her animal.
Fellow passenger Robert Phelps gave a more detailed account of the incident to CNN:
To make matters worse after the stink of pig poop filled the cabin, the companion pig started howling.
Phelps described the pig’s owner’s reaction:
Emotional support animals are allowed on airplanes after a 2003 DOT rule change.
Regulations say that an airline can request proof of a passenger’s disability to travel with such an animal, but individual rules vary by carrier. Such proof might include a letter from a mental health professional that stresses the need for an emotional support animal without going into private details about the person’s disability.
We think it’s possible that the pig was just hangry. It was a 6am flight, and we don’t know how early restaurants open at that airport. From all the flights we’ve ever taken, we wouldn’t be surprised if a lack of food played a role.
Meanwhile, Twitter users love the #EmotionalSupportPig: