Woman alleges Spirit Airlines made her flush emotional support hamster down the toilet

According to a report in the Miami Herald, Belen Aldecosea, a 21-year-old student from Florida, flushed her emotional support hamster, Pebbles, down a toilet after being instructed to do so by a Spirit employee.

Aldecosea claims that she contacted Spirit before her flight and received permission to bring Pebbles on board. However, when she got to the airport, she was denied entry onto the flight with Pebbles, and a Spirit employee told Aldecosea that her two options were to either flush Pebbles or to let the animal free.

Aldecosea chose to flush Pebbles, saying she could not bear thinking of her hamster freezing to death or getting hit.

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

Norwegian breaks record with 5 hour, 13 minute flight from New York to London

Norwegian – a low-cast carrier which is gaining notoriety with its low pricing, great service, and interesting direct routes – set a record on Monday for the fastest┬ásubsonic commercial transatlantic flight ever.

The flight, which departing from New York’s JFK Airport and landed at London Gatwick, clocked in at 5 hours and 13 minutes, beating the previous record of 5 hours and 16 minutes.

This falls shorts of the fastest transatlantic flight ever, which occurred on February 7, 1996 on a Concorde, clocking in at 2 hours and 55 minutes.

Delta uses in-flight magazine to complain about Gulf carriers

On a recent Delta flight, I was surprised when I opened up the Delta Sky magazine which was attacking the Gulf carriers (Emirates, Qatar, and Ethiad). The note from Delta read as follows:

The nations of Qatar and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) are attempting to take over international aviation by funneling billions of dollars in subsidies into their state-owned airlines. U.S. airlines have already ceased flying to certain international destinations because they can’t compete with the unreasonably low prices of the gulf airlines. And for every route lost, 1,500 Americans lose their jobs. Left unaddressed, the U.S. aviation industry is at risk.

Open & Fair Skies agreements exist to prevent this, but they are not being enforced. Join the fight to protect fair trade and American jobs.

I think Delta is being a whiny drama queen here. Delta itself has accepted billions of dollars in government subsidies, which it was not complaining about when it was on the winning side.

Delta is also avoiding the elephant in the room here which is, compared to the Gulf carriers, its qualify of service sucks. In the latest ranking of worldwide airlines, Delta ranked #32, whereas Emirates was #4, Qatar was #1, and Ethiad was #7.

Sure, you may argue that Delta could have better service without these subsidies, but let’s look how Delta ranks significantly below dozens of other international airlines that don’t receive these kind of cash infusions, including EVA Air (#6), Thai Airlines (#11), Turkish Airlines (#11), Virgin Australia (#13), and even Norwegian (#28).

Rather than lodging a campaign against 3 airlines, Delta should work hard to take the market share from airlines without cash infusions that currently offer a much better in-flight experience.

Let me know your thoughts in the comments!

United Airlines offering 2 free checked bags on flights between U.S. and China/Hong Kong

Matching some Asian competitors, including Cathay Pacific and Singapore Airlines, starting today, United Airlines is offering 2 free checked bags for passengers flying between the U.S. and China/Hong Kong.

This policy also matches Delta’s for these destinations (although Delta’s free checked baggage policy applies to all of Asia for flights departing from/arriving in the U.S.).