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Southwest Airlines

This Passenger Was “Forced” to Abandon Her Pet Fish At the Airport

This Passenger Was “Forced” to Abandon Her Pet Fish At the Airport
Jennifer Billock

A passenger on a Southwest Airlines flight is speaking out against the company after flight staff allegedly forced her to give up her pet fish at the airport, even though pet fish are allowed to fly according to the Transportation Security Administration – Southwest’s policy, though, does not allow fish.

A passenger on a recent Southwest flight claims the airline forced her to give up her pet fish instead of allowing her to take it on the plane. Lanice Powless was flying from California to Colorado when a flight attendant informed her the fish couldn’t fly, even though Powless has flown with the fish before.

“I’ve taken him everywhere with me,” Powless told 10News. “I have traveled with it. I had it in my container too.”

But although the TSA allows pet fish to fly as carry-ons, Southwest’s policy says only small cats and dogs are allowed, if they fit under the seat in front of the passenger. Powless managed to find someone at the airport to take the fish so she could travel—but claims the airline did not let up.

“They were not allowing us to converse at all because they were thinking we were going to do some secret exchange throughout the airport,” Powless said. “Even after I was no longer in possession of the fish, they still continued to have security around us, and follow us through the airport and escorted onto our plane, as if we brought something bad onto the airport.”

Southwest, although they confirmed the incident happened, said that they offered to put Powless on a different flight to accommodate her fish.

“Our Team offered to re-book the customer for a later flight to allow them to make arrangements for their pet but the customer refused that option,” an airline spokesperson said. “The customer eventually traveled on their originally scheduled flight.”

[Photo: Shutterstock]

View Comments (12)


  1. strickerj

    December 18, 2018 at 1:36 pm

    Was the fish in a container 3-oz or smaller?

    But seriously… I don’t get how it got this far. I believe the customer is expected to indicate during the ticket purchase if he/she is bringing a pet on board, and what it is. If he/she did so, then Southwest should have advised that this pet is not permissible, especially when their policy conflicts with the TSA’s, which most passengers wouldn’t expect.

  2. Proudelitist

    December 18, 2018 at 2:18 pm

    If she doesn’t like the rules, she can fly a different airline. And I tend to think her continued scrutiny by security was not related to the fish, but to the subsequent freak out she engaged in.

  3. fotographer

    December 18, 2018 at 2:23 pm

    really, another pet or emotional support issue… people grow up.. leave the fish at home, have someone feed it

  4. makrom

    December 18, 2018 at 4:10 pm

    As I just found out, the TSA has a special rule waiving the 3.4 oz limit for this situation. I guess a live fish serves as proof that the liquid isn’t an ingredient for an explosive (besides the fact that the manufacturing processes of most explosives require water at some stage). Interesting though that TSA rule making can be so reasonable.

  5. WASSadFlyer

    December 18, 2018 at 5:05 pm

    I’m still waiting to see a mini-horse on a flight. Hopefully it’ll be Lil’ Sebastian.

  6. drvannostren

    December 18, 2018 at 5:39 pm

    Just wait until someone figures out a dangerous liquid that fish can survive in briefly. All you’d have to do is switch the fish from the plastic bag to the container right before TSA, you’d probably be able to get it through. It’s all ridiculous though, just leave the damn fish at home.

  7. strickerj

    December 18, 2018 at 8:25 pm

    @makrom – thanks, that actually makes sense… wait, did I just say that about the TSA? 😉

  8. sfoeuroflyer

    December 19, 2018 at 8:01 am

    And we are supposed to feel outrage at her treatment???????? Not really. Just another overly entitled nut job making a claim that is utter bs.

  9. jrpallante

    December 19, 2018 at 8:29 am

    Another passenger who should not be allowed out in public without professional supervision.

  10. ayrshiredude

    December 19, 2018 at 9:04 am

    Sorry but who takes a pet fish on a plane? The world is becoming a crazy place.

  11. Fine Art Landscape Photographer

    December 20, 2018 at 12:48 pm

    @ayrshiredude – I sometimes travel with a emotional support scorpion. When someone gives me dirty looks I sick my scorpion named King at them 🙂

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