When a Frontier Airlines passenger boarded a flight from Orlando to Cleveland with a comfort animal, crew members were surprised to discover that her emotional support companion was a squirrel. When the flyer and her rodent refused to leave the plane after being ordered to disembark, police were called and the flight was delayed by nearly two hours.
A woman who alerted Frontier Airlines she would be requiring the assistance of an emotional support animal on her flight from Orlando International Airport (MCO) to Cleveland Hopkins International Airport (CLE) on Tuesday, reportedly neglected to inform the carrier that her comfort companion was a squirrel.
Because rodents, even adorable pet squirrels, are prohibited on Frontier flights, the woman and her no-longer-flying-squirrel were ordered off the plane. When she refused to deplane, a rather nutty standoff ensued and the flight was delayed by nearly two hours.
“Rodents, including squirrels, are not allowed on Frontier flights,” Frontier Airlines spokesperson Jonathan Freed told USA Today. “The passenger was advised of the policy and was asked to deplane. When she refused to deplane, Orlando Police were called and everyone was deplaned so police could deal with the passenger. Police eventually escorted the passenger off the aircraft and returned her to the main terminal.”
In recent months, U.S. airlines, including Frontier have clamped down on passengers believed to be abusing policies designed to allow comfort animals to accompany flyers with a legitimate need for emotional support companions.
The carriers have strengthened limits on both the circumstances in which passengers are permitted to board with service animals and the types of animals that are allowed on flights. In the past, passengers have attempted to bring pigs, opossums, snakes, spiders, turkeys and even a peacock named Dexter on flights claiming the animals were emotional support companions.