U.S. Airways Passenger Forced To Deplane When Her Emotional Support Pig Started Pooping And Howling

Back when I was plotting a move to Los Angeles, one of my biggest concerns was figuring out how I would transport my dog Lucca to the West Coast. I am flat-out opposed to ever putting her in cargo, she’s just slightly too big to fit in a carrier that goes underneath the seat and roadtripping across the country would require time away from work I couldn’t take. So, I did some research and discovered that some airlines are amenable to people flying with “emotional support animals” that are not required to be in carriers, so long as the animal is registered and you have the proper documentation (which includes a letter from a doctor/therapist/psychiatrist asserting that the handler has a condition that the emotional support animal helps them cope with). I registered Lucca online, paid for her ID card and official-looking red vest and spoke to my psychiatrist about providing me with a letter — that I ended up not needing, since I decided to stay in New York — that attested to the fact that I have a mental condition (anxiety) and that having Lucca with me while I travel is essential to me being okay. This is of course not totally true. I mean, when I’m having an anxiety attack, Lucca does calm me — but so does Lexapro. I also am not a nervous flyer, though I would be a wreck if Lucca was stuck in cargo for six hours. “Emotional support animals” are basically lower-tiered service animals (lower even than therapy animals, which go to hospitals to visit with sick kids, for example) and the “rights” afforded to them and handlers like me — basically, the right to go where animals are not usually allowed — come from essentially taking advantage of a loophole in the Americans with Disabilities Act. (That’s especially true if you’re fudging about actually needing an ESA in the first place.) It’s neither legal nor illegal, and I, like an increasing number of other pet owners, considered it the best option for getting my small, well-behaved, adorable dog across the country, just this one time. After all, it’s not like I was trying to fly with a howling, pooping pig, you know?


A U.S. Airways passenger attempted to do just that with her emotional support animal, a 60 lb. squealing pig. After the pair had boarded their plane at Connecticut’s Bradley International Airport, the pig began howling and “dropping things,” according to a nearby passenger. “Things” = “poop,” by the way. “She was talking to it like a person, saying it was being a jerk,” said fellow traveler Robert Phelps, who should just hear some of the debates I have with Lucca. “I have no problems with babies, but this pig was letting out a howl.” When flight attendants told the woman that she needed to clean up after her pig because the stench of shit was overwhelming the rest of the cabin, she complied — while her pig ran up and down the aisle. She was eventually asked to deplane and did so without a fuss. The shame of ruining everyone’s travel experience before the plane was even off the ground was probably too much to bear, and it’s clear that her pig could not be counted on to emotional support her during this stressful situation. There’s no word on whether she and her emotionally not-at-all supportive pig eventually made it to their destination, but I’m betting he’ll be spending next Thanksgiving in his pig pen. [CrimeFeed]