Passenger takes miniature horse named ‘Flirty’ on plane as service animal

‘The emotional support...MINI HORSE?’

Cathy Adams
Monday 02 September 2019 11:40 BST
A passenger boarded a plane with a miniature horse
A passenger boarded a plane with a miniature horse

It’s not unusual to see dogs and cats onboard planes as emotional support animals in the US.

But on one flight, a passenger brought a miniature horse onboard.

The service animal, called Flirty, was spotted onboard an American Airlines flight from Chicago, Illinois, to Omaha, Nebraska.

The docile pony was captured on video by several passengers standing in the footwell.

In earlier clips the miniature horse is also seen trotting through the airport.

Last month, the US Department of Transportation issued a “final statement of enforcement priorities” to clarify that miniature horses would still be allowed onboard commercial planes, as well as cats and dogs.

There has been ongoing recent conversation around which support animals are allowed onboard US flights following a number of controversies.

“With respect to animal species, we indicated that we would focus our enforcement efforts on ensuring that the most commonly used service animals (dogs, cats, and miniature horses) are accepted for transport as service animals,” said the guidelines.

However, it is still up to individual airlines to rule on which animals are permitted onboard as comfort pets – as well as how many are permitted to travel with the passenger.

Various airlines have already ruled on which animals are allowed onboard.

American Airlines now only permits a cat, dog or miniature horse to be brought onboard as an emotional support animal.

An American Airlines spokesperson told The Independent: “This miniature horse was a trained service animal, which American Airlines accepts onboard following evaluation on a case-by-case basis.

“We recognise the important role trained service dogs, cats and miniature horses can play in lives of those with disabilities and they are welcome in the cabin, at no charge, if they meet the requirements.”

In the past, passengers have tried to board flights with animals such as squirrels, peacocks and a turkey.

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