Woman kicked off plane when she tried to smuggle her cat on board as an “emotional support animal”

An American passenger was kicked off a plane earlier this week when she tried to smuggle her cat on board as an “emotional support animal.”

Two useful tags. Click either to see the articles: Toxic to cats | Dangers to cats

The woman was caught on a recent flight aboard British Airways from Glasgow to London. She was sitting next to an emergency exit which means her bag had to be stored in the overhead. The cat was in a box inside her bag.

A British Airways spokesperson told Daily Record

“Cats cannot travel in the cabin but recognized assistance dogs travel free alongside their owners. Other animals need to travel in the hold.”

The Glasgow airport says their security staff was aware the cat was on the flight (dates are saying anything from last Sunday until October 24) and the cat was properly processed, although a report by The Travel brought up the issue of how the cat got past airport security. Security personnel said the cat wouldn’t have been detected whether it was brought on the plane dead, alive or stuffed.

British Airways says emotional support cats aren’t allowed to fly in the cabin but can be stored in the luggage hold on the plane.

With everything from peacocks to squirrels being labeled by their owners as support animals, airlines are defending what they allow to fly in the passenger cabins.

The woman is said not to have booked another flight once she was booted off.

Is it proper for dogs to be allowed to fly beside their owners and cats not or should things like people being allergic to cats be taken into consideration?

Your thoughts on any of this are welcome in the comment section. If any of you have a photo of the cat and know the correct date, post that as well.

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8 thoughts on “Woman kicked off plane when she tried to smuggle her cat on board as an “emotional support animal””

  1. It happened on October 21st, according to The Independent, the woman has not been named, no cat picture-


    Quote from IAG who transport animals…
    “Other animals will need to travel in the hold but will be just as comfortable in a carefully controlled environment.

    “The transportation of pets is handled by our sister company, IAG Cargo. They have decades of experience flying animals and will look after our customers’ pets as if they are their own.”

    Really? Nope, not unless you cough up a substantial number of £s.

    I wonder if she knew this and just took a chance? If I was travelling with a cat in a plane cabin, I am pretty sure, I would not be just stuffing it into an overhead bag cupboard, without at least giving it some verbal reassurance.

    Two links, mostly covering entering the UK with a companion animal –

    Glasgow Airport-

    Heathrow Pet Travel Scheme https://www.heathrow-airport-guide.co.uk/pet-travel.html

    One phone call would have put her right on the rules.

    As per usual, this story is churning around the media, one site claimed there was a riot when she wad asked to leave the plane. Likely nonsense.

  2. In the UK, the rule is, if it ain’t a support dog, it takes its chances in luggage/cargo hold. So put your support cat in that and you can watch the lumpen, thug baggage handlers play football with your cat in a carrier, as you sit in the lounge, waiting to board your flight.

    Luggage/cargo are dangerous for all animals, unless personally attended to by trained and experienced staff. The ones allowed this privilege are generally expensive/rare animals bound for zoos or race horses.

    I can understand the woman not wanting her companion to travel in luggage/cargo. But she should have researched the rules. Even if some misguided ticket seller/airline rep told her it wad ok, she would not have been allowed to have her companion in the cabin, unless it was a sainted, sacred dog.

  3. I am BTW appalled at how ESA now seem to have service animal status. I was lucky to avoid having to sit next to someone holding a dog. Now understand they made me put my purse in the overhead and not on my lap because it could become a projectile if there were issues on take off. Unless it’s an legit SD all animals belong in crates under the seat. Putting an animal in a cargo hold is inhumane.

  4. Luggage Hold ? Really. Crated animals that do not exceed weight restrictions usually fly in carriers under the seat. No animal should ever be put in a cargo hold

      • Cargo holds are not meant for living creatures. It should be illegal across the board. I have said for a long time that airlines need to provide a few built in carrier options in cabins where larger pets can be safe if they don’t fit under the seat.
        Not wanting to pay for your pets ticket through fraud should always get one booted off the flight. Cats and dogs are generally recognized as support animals. Though I believe they should be required to be crated as they are not service animals. Customer abuse and incidents in the cabins during flights have led to these crackdowns. Our local walmart now has signage that dogs are NOT allowed in shopping carts.

    • Exactly. She could’ve found an airline that allowed pets in carriers under the seat. She also should’ve made sure she isn’t seated in an exit row. They don’t make anybody sit in an exit row, she could’ve just said she doesn’t think she can open the door in case of emergency.

      My friend transported her late mother’s cat from Russia to the US. Her mother passed away in Russia, and my friend wanted to bring the cat to live with her in the US. It was perfectly fine and legal. When she went through security, she didn’t want to have her cat go through the machine, so she went to another room with a security person so that they could inspect the carrier while she held the cat.

      I was on the same flight as I came to visit Russia with her. It had 2-4-2 arrangement, so my friend got a window seat, and I got the aisle seat next to her. Whenever the cat got too upset, my friend would take her out and allow her to sit on her lap. A flight attendant would ask her to put the cat back, she’d do it, after a while the cat would get upset again… At one point, the cat managed to open the carrier and decided to go out and check out the plane. Thankfully, a nice person across the aisle caught her and handed her to us. It helped that this was a mellow elderly Persian cat. Eventually, the cat quieted down.

      I don’t remember if this was Finnair or Air France. I think the latter. We did have one stop, but I don’t remember if it was in Helsinki or Paris.


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