Plane passengers in the US are used to seeing an abundance of emotional support animals travelling in the cabin. Dogs and cats are regular flyers as "comfort pets", but not everyone is quite prepared for a miniature horse passenger. And that's exactly what happened to American Airlines passengers on a flight from Chicago to Omaha who were left stunned a few days ago after noticing a miniature horse brought on board by a fellow traveller and joined their flight.
One of the passengers, Evan Nowak, posted on Twitter a footage which showed the horse calmly sitting near the front of the plane in an aisle seat.
Another passenger, Amberley Babbage, also spotted the animal at check in and tweeted:
The horse was later revealed to be called Flirty who seems to be quite the social media star with over 7000 followers on Instagram:
Flirty's owner summed up the experience on her Instagram page: "Flirty and I took to the skies, yesterday! It was a great experience and I learned a lot. Flirty was FANTASTIC and handled it all like a pro. That being said, I'm going to keep traveling by car, it's just easier on Flirty. Flying will be reserved for emergencies and such". He added: "It's just too difficult to make sure Flirty doesn't inconvenience other passengers. Because my airport is smaller, the planes are smaller and don't have solid bulkheads. Flirty couldn't help jostling the seat of the person in the last row of first-class every time she moved. Once we got up to cruising altitude, she took a nap and was very quiet. But she had to rebalance quite a bit while ascending and descending and kept bumping the back of their seat through the curtain 'bulkhead.'"
The US Department of Transportation has clarified which service animals can't be banned from airplanes, and miniature horses are in luck.
Service animals on planes have been a hot topic, especially when the animal is a little exotic (an emotional support peacock was famously denied entry on a United Airlines flight last year). To curb some of the debate, the US Department of Transportation clarified which common service animals should almost always be allowed. The statement clarifies that animals outside of dogs, cats and miniature horses must be accepted or denied flight on a case-by-case basis. Only snakes, reptiles, ferrets, rodents and spiders can be categorically banned by an airline.
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