Spirit airlines, a company that likely looks up to United for customer service inspo, has outdone themselves. According to Florida resident Belen Aldecosea, she was forced into the unenviable position of either missing a medial appointment or commit hamstercide and kill her emotional support animal, Pebbles.
To her credit, it does appear that she attempted to clarify the airline’s position regarding the airworthiness of support rodents before the flight. In an email to Aldecosea prior to departure, Spirit representatives indicated that the ill-fated Pebbles would be allowed to board. However, upon arriving at BWI, she was further informed that the previous information was incorrect, Pebbles would not be joining the other passengers for a trip to the unfriendly skies. Thus far, both Aldecosea’s account of the incident and Spirit’s appear to be the same. In response to their misdirection, Spirit had this to say:
“Belen, I can’t begin to enough apologize that our agent was unable to provide you with the correct information regarding animals allowed on-board our aircraft” – Spirit
This left the unlucky flyer with two options: find a way to set the animal free, or take him out…Casino style. According to Aldecosea’s attorney, the suggestion to flush poor Pebbles down the toilet came from none other than one of Spirit’s award winning1 customer service agents. The airline disagrees on this point:
“After researching this incident, we can say confidently that at no point did any of our agents suggest this guest (or any other for that matter) should flush or otherwise injure an animal” – Spirit
Hoping for further clarification from Spirit, we reached out to them for comment. They didn’t respond, as per usual.
So we’re left with a he-said/she-said story. Unfortunately there’s not much more we can convey fact-wise. It is however, our opinion that Aldecosea acted inappropriately, regardless of Spirit’s alleged suggestions. Just because one tells another to do something, doesn’t mean they should.
Subsequent to the incident, Ms. Aldecosea is considering a lawsuit against the carrier. On what merits, we have no idea. It is worth mentioning, that the other option, releasing the animal, might not have been nearly has tortuous as dying in a sewer pipe. A quick Wikipedia query leads us to the information that hamsters do quite well in the cold, on their own. Heck, they originate from places like Mongolia, Russia and Korea, not exactly lands of eternal sunshine.
1We’re unaware of any actual service awards Spirit has received