College Student Claims Spirit Airlines Told Her To Flush Pet Hamster Down Airport Toilet, And She Did

Twenty-one-year-old college student, Belen Aldecosea, claims that Spirit Airlines employees told her to flush her emotional-support hamster, Pebbles, down the toilet at the Baltimore airport before boarding her flight to Fort Lauderdale, Florida, on Nov. 21, 2017.

Aldecosea told the Miami Herald that she called Spirit Airlines twice before coming to the airport, and was told she could fly with the tiny animal, but that changed when she tried to board. 

Spirit Airlines admitted they gave her the wrong information about flying with the animal, but Spirit spokesman Derek Dombrowski denied the flushing part: 

To be clear, at no point did any of our agents suggest this guest (or any other for that matter) should flush or otherwise injure an animal.

Aldecosea said she was unsuccessful when trying to rent a car at the airport, and ended up flushing the animal down the toilet:

She was scared. I was scared. It was horrifying trying to put her in the toilet. I was emotional. I was crying. I sat there for a good 10 minutes crying in the stall.

Aldecosea said her doctor certified her pet as an emotional support animal after she had a cancer scare that turned out to be a benign growth.

Aldecosea said that she emailed a complaint to Spirit Airlines, and was offered  a voucher for a free flight to certain cities, which she refused.

U.S. Transportation Safety Administration spokeswoman Sari Koshetz told the Miami Herald the hamster could legally fly:

Hamsters are welcome in our checkpoint. Their container would typically go through the X-ray while the owner would hold the hamster as the passenger walks through the metal detector so the creature is not subjected to radiation.

Aldecosea recalled her furry friend:  “She was so loving. It was like she knew I needed somebody.”

Aldecosea considered setting the hamster free outside the airport, but feared it might get run over. She concluded the most humane solution was to flush it.

(Source: Miami Herald, Photo Credit: Belen Aldecosea via Miami Herald))

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