An unidentified woman and her “emotional support squirrel” were kicked off of a Frontier Airlines flight, and the woman was caught on-camera giving the crowd the “one-finger salute” as she was led away by Security.
As the Miami Herald reports, Flight 1612 from Orlando to Cleveland became quite the scene on Tuesday when an unidentified passenger showed up to board the aircraft with a squirrel in tow. The woman said that the airline had cleared her — before she arrived at the airport — to bring her emotional support animal with her. However, when that animal turned out to be a squirrel, the airline was not willing to accommodate.
According to fellow passenger Brandon Nixon, when told that she wouldn’t be allowed to fly with her squirrel, the woman refused to leave. The police had to be called and, as she was being led away, the woman gave the crowd — some of whom were applauding — a rude hand gesture.
“So im flying back to cleveland [sic] and everyone got on the plane then was asked to exit the plane. Only to later find out a woman brought a squirrel in her carry on and labeled it as her emotional support pet. Then refuses to get off the plane until the cops come. You can’t make this stuff up.”
Another passenger, Amber Calhoun, told WEWS-TV that the rest of the passengers on board joked that the whole thing would blow up on social media.
“The joke of the plane was hashtag squirrel so you’ll probably see it all over social media.”
The whole fiasco wound up delaying the scheduled flight by two hours, but eventually those passengers who didn’t bring a squirrel to the airport that day were allowed to get on the plane and head to their destination.
— FOX 12 Oregon KPTV (@fox12oregon) October 10, 2018
Emotional support animals have become an increasingly popular trend, and the regulatory status of said animals is still very much in flux. As such, some individuals claim that many exotic or unusual creatures are their emotional support animal, and try to demand accommodation from a business — in this case, an airline — to keep it with them.
Airlines have had some mixed reactions to attempts by passengers to bring on exotic animals. Several people have tried to board aircraft with unconventional support animals, including a peacock. As the BBC notes, the peacock and its attendant human passenger were not allowed to fly to their planned destination.
Frontier Airlines, for its part, allows only dogs and cats. Taking things one step further, they specifically indicate that they do not allow rodents — so “emotional support squirrels” are right out.
As of this writing, the woman who was kicked off of the flight has not given her side of the story to the media.