Southwest Passenger Leaves Pet Fish at Airport After It Was Denied Boarding
This post contains references to products from one or more of our advertisers. We may receive compensation when you click on links to those products. Terms apply to the offers listed on this page. For an explanation of our Advertising Policy, visit this page.
A Southwest passenger is lamenting the fact that her pink beta fish and travel companion was denied boarding on a flight from San Diego to Denver on Wednesday.
The woman, Lanice Powless, attempted to board the flight with her pet fish, Cassie, but says an airline employee told her the fish could not be on the plane with her. Powless, who studies at the University of Denver, was confused because she says she frequently traveled with Cassie.
“I have traveled with it; I had it in my container too,” Powless told the ABC San Diego news station. “I’ve taken him everywhere with me.”
The Transportation Security Administration allows live fish in water to be carried on planes if they are in a clear transparent container and inspected by a TSA officer, it says on its website. Southwest’s pet policy, however, only allows for small vaccinated domestic cats and dogs to travel in the cabin if they fit underneath the seat.
Powless claims she never had trouble bringing her fish on Southwest flights until the incident on Wednesday. “The supervisor comes and she said ‘Unfortunately, you cannot bring fish onto Southwest Airlines,'” she told the ABC station. Powless asked the desk agents if she could leave the fish on their counter so a friend could come pick Cassie up, but they said no.
So, Powless scrambled to find someone to take her fish, eventually passing off Cassie to a stranger whose airline allowed fish onboard. But airport employees separated the two of them, so Powless never got the other passenger’s name or information. “They were not allowing us to converse at all because they were thinking we were going to do some secret exchange throughout the airport,” she said.
Southwest confirmed the incident to TPG and said that Powless didn’t want to change her flight to make other plans for her fish. “Our Team offered to re-book the Customer for a later flight to allow them to make arrangements for their pet but the Customer refused that option,” an airline spokesperson told TPG in an email. “The Customer eventually traveled on their originally scheduled flight.”
Powless says she originally bought the fish to help combat the loneliness she felt beginning college in Denver. “I put my finger in there, he come up and nibble my finger,” she said. “He was a cool fish. I even got him a heater, because it gets so cold in Colorado.”
The tale is a good reminder for all passengers to double check airlines’ pet policies because the industry has a patchwork of rules, and carriers’ regulations can greatly differ. Delta, for instance, recently banned all emotional support animals on any flight longer than eight hours, as well as all emotional support animals under four months of age, regardless of flight length.
As for Powless, she realizes some people think her fishy predicament was not truly a debacle, but she disagrees. “Everyone’s laughing at me,” she said. “Yes, it’s a fish. I know. But dang, it was my pet. And just because it wasn’t a cat or dog, it wasn’t as important?”
Welcome to The Points Guy!
Earn 90,000 bonus miles and 10,000 Medallion® Qualification Miles (MQMs) after you spend $3,000 in purchases on your new card in the first three months of card membership. Offer ends 11/10/2021.
With Status Boost™, earn 10,000 Medallion Qualification Miles (MQMs) after you spend $25,000 in purchases on your Card in a calendar year, up to two times per year getting you closer to Medallion Status. Earn 3X Miles on Delta purchases and purchases made directly with hotels, 2X Miles at restaurants and at U.S. supermarkets and earn 1X Mile on all other eligible purchases. Terms Apply.
- Limited Time Offer: Earn 90,000 Bonus Miles and 10,000 Medallion® Qualification Miles (MQMs) after you spend $3,000 in purchases on your new Card in your first 3 months. Offer expires 11/10/2021.
- Earn up to 20,000 Medallion® Qualification Miles (MQMs) with Status Boost® per year. After you spend $25,000 in purchases on your Card in a calendar year, you can earn 10,000 MQMs two times per year, getting you closer to Medallion® Status. MQMs are used to determine Medallion® Status and are different than miles you earn toward flights.
- Earn 3X Miles on Delta purchases and purchases made directly with hotels.
- Earn 2X Miles at restaurants worldwide, including takeout and delivery and at U.S. supermarkets.
- Earn 1X Miles on all other eligible purchases.
- Receive a Domestic Main Cabin round-trip companion certificate each year upon renewal of your Card. *Payment of the government imposed taxes and fees of no more than $75 for roundtrip domestic flights (for itineraries with up to four flight segments) is required. Baggage charges and other restrictions apply. See terms and conditions for details.
- Enjoy your first checked bag free on Delta flights.
- Fee Credit for Global Entry or TSA Pre✓®.
- Enjoy an exclusive rate of $39 per person per visit to enter the Delta Sky Club® for you and up to two guests when traveling on a Delta flight.
- No Foreign Transaction Fees.
- $250 Annual Fee.
- Terms Apply.
- See Rates & Fees