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Woman delays flight to Cleveland after trying to travel with 'emotional support squirrel'

Posted at 10:25 PM, Oct 09, 2018
and last updated 2018-10-10 12:06:12-04

Have you ever heard of an emotional support animal being a squirrel?

A passenger boarding a Frontier Airlines flight in Orlando headed to Cleveland got on the plane with one Tuesday night.

A Frontier Airlines official said the passenger did note in their reservation that they were bringing an emotional support animal but did not indicate that it was a squirrel.

Frontier Airlines does not allow rodents on flights.

When they told the passenger of the policy and asked her to deplane, she refused and Orlando police were called. 

Many passengers News 5 spoke to didn't seem annoyed or angry but rather amused.

"The joke of the plane was hashtag squirrel so you’ll probably see it all over social media," said passenger Amber Calhoun.

She was eventually escorted off the plane, allowing the plane to depart. 

A spokesperson for Frontier Airlines said the woman's ticket did indicate she had an emotional support animal but never specified the type of animal.

The whole fiasco delayed the flight for almost two hours. 

The Transportation Security Administration said airlines determine whether or not animals are allowed on board their aircraft. It's TSA's responsibility to make sure the animal and its carrying case doesn't pose a threat to aviation security. The agency said they did all the proper steps to ensure the safety of passengers and aircraft security.

The TSA will screen animals brought to a checkpoint if it does not pose a danger to our officers.

The squirrel was screened the same way someone’s cat would be screened.  The container was sent through the x-ray machine while the passenger carried the squirrel through the walk-through metal detector.  In this way we could be sure that there were no explosives or other prohibited items hidden inside the container.  Once the TSA determines that an animal and its carrying case do not pose a threat to the aviation system, then it is up to the airline to determine if the animal may fly or not.