Emotional Support Squirrel and Owner Kicked off Flight
A woman and her “emotional support” squirrel were kicked off a Frontier Airlines flight because rodents are not allowed on their flights. The airline said the woman said she was bringing an emotional support animal on the flight in advance, but she did not tell them that the animal was a squirrel.
According to a statement Frontier made to WFTV:
“The passenger noted in their reservation that they were bringing an emotional support animal but it was not incidated [sic] that it was a squirrel,” the airline said in a statement provided to Orlando ABC affiliate WFTV. “Rodents, including squirrels, are not allowed on Frontier flights.”
The entire plane was forced to deplane by the police while they dealt with the woman, which was eventually escorted off the plane to cheers from other passengers captured in a video by a Twitter user.
Frontier has new guidelines for emotional support animals beginning on November 1, 2018. The policy requires stringent confirmation that the animal is indeed trained for emotional support functions and that the animal can be prevented from boarding if it is acting poorly, which includes barking, snapping, or urinating in the gate area. The policy states:
Effective for travel beginning November 1, 2018, Frontier is changing our policy for accepting emotional support animals (ESAs) on our flights. An emotional support animal provides support for an individual with a mental health-related disability and is not trained to perform a specific task(s) or work. Frontier is implementing the following changes:
The ESA must be either a dog or a cat.
Each customer may bring only one ESA on the flight.
Advanced notice 48-hours prior to departure is required.
The ESA must be in a carrier that can be stowed under the seat in front of the customer or on a leash at all times while in the airport and onboard the aircraft.
For complete rules regarding Frontier’s policy about emotional support animals, be sure to follow the link above to see if your emotional support animal meets the requirements. Apparently, your emotional support squirrel will likely not meet the requirements.
Stories like this have been quite regular, with many different passengers bringing a myriad of different animals on to planes under the guise of emotional support animals. Airlines have refused some people the ability to bring on their animals. This has led to airlines more recently cracking down on the rules governing emotional support animals. Alaska, along with other airlines, have been trying to crack down on the use of emotional support animals with updated policies.