There's no seat for your cybercat, scientist told

British Airways staff were branded mindless automatons for refusing to seat a robotic cat - because it breached airline policy on animals in the cabin.

British Airways staff were branded mindless automatons for refusing to seat a robotic cat - because it breached airline policy on animals in the cabin.

Scientist Kevin Warwick, head of cybernetics at Reading University, had assured BA that his 'cat' was merely a piece of technological equipment.

But when he tried to book an economy seat for his hi-tech robotic cat on a BA flight from Heathrow to Russia later this month he was told that animals were not allowed in the cabin.

Prof Warwick, 45, told several newspapers that he was bemused when staff told him that the 4ft long, 2ft high robot - nicknamed Hissing Sid - would have to go in the hold. 'I couldn't believe it,' he said.

'I made it perfectly clear that it wasn't a real cat but a highly valuable piece of robotics, but they were adamant that the robot would have to go in the hold because of their rules about animals,' he said.

'There was no way I was going to send him as freight in the hold where he could easily be damaged. I wanted him safe and sound on a seat next to me.'

A BA spokesman said that there must have been a breakdown in communications. 'There should have been no problem with the robot having a seat.

'It is quite common for people with delicate objects such as instruments to buy seats for them, she said. Professor Warwick, who is taking the £10,000 robot as part of a tour to showcase UK technology to Russian scientists, has now booked a seat for Hissing Sid on Aeroflot.

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