Belen Aldecosta, who is a 21-year-old college student, is devastated. She stated that Spirit Airlines refused to let her bring her hamster on the plan. She also stated that she was forced to flush the hamster down the toilet.
Belen said that the Spirit staffers had told her beforehand that it was okay to bring the hamster on the plane. However, they later told her that she could not bring the hamster on the plane. Belen stated that the hamster was an emotional support animal for her.
Adam Goodman is an attorney. She stated that what happened to Belen is a tragedy. He also stated that no one should have to go through this. Adam stated that the animal is innocent and would not have caused any problems. Adam stated that Belen had called the airline the day before and was told that it was okay to bring the hamster.
Belen was traveling to the Florida because she had a growth on her neck that had to be examined by a doctor. She had tried to find other transportation methods, but her options were limited. She could not rent a car because she was too young. Belen did not know that she was going to break a rule by trying to bring the hamster on the plane.
A spokesperson for Spirit stated that Belen was misinformed. They also stated that Belen was told that she could take a later flight in order to make accommodations for her hamster. Spirit Airlines has a list of animals it does not accept on its website, which includes spiders, rodents, reptiles and ferrets.
Belen was supposed to get on the plane at 10:39 a.m., but she got on the plane at 7:42 p.m. The airline also stated that they offered a voucher to Belen, but they did not hear back from her. Adam and Belen stated that they are looking into legal remedies.
Belen said that she cried for 10 minutes after she flushed the hamster down the toilet. This is not the first time that someone attempted to bring an emotional support animal on the plane and was turned away. Last month, a woman attempted to bring an emotional support peacock on a United Airlines plane. The Department of Transportation has stated that people are allowed to bring service animals on the plane. However, unusual animals will be evaluated on an individual basis.