Southwest employees look after a passengers fish for 4 months when it’s banned from flight
When Kira contacted Southwest Airlines about what to do about her fish she never anticipated the customer service guy to go above and beyond.
Marilyn Caylor

Whether we like it or not, people traveling with animals on an airplane is definitely a thing.

Not counting Samuel L. Jackson’s “Snakes on a Plane,” wild critters that we’ve seen take flight in recent years include everything from baby kangaroos, peacocks, and turkeys, to monkeys, ducks, and piggies.

YouTube - Inside Edition
YouTube - Inside Edition

And size doesn’t seem to matter, either – one woman famously crammed an emotional support pony between her legs and the seat in front of her (too bad for that person if they wanted to lean back, I guess).

But fishies? Nope – those dangerous little suckers are banned!

They smell like nothing, take up zero space, and won’t make a sound, so of course they shouldn’t be allowed on board.

Flickr - Mark Fischer
Flickr - Mark Fischer

One student recently learned that lesson the hard way when she was told she couldn’t take her pet fish onto a Southwest Airlines flight.

The woman, named Kira, had just finished up her freshman year of college and was flying out of Tampa International Airport to go home for the summer break.

She planned to bring her Beta fish with her, but incorrectly assumed that because TSA regulations allow for it, the airline would be fine with it too.

In a crackdown against fake emotional support animals, Southwest Airlines changed its pet policies so that only dogs and cats are allowed in the cabin, and service animals are strictly limited to trained dogs only.

On Facebook, Southwest explained that “Ismael, our Customer Service Agent, talked Kira and her father through multiple options.”

Kira wasn’t about to flush Theo down the toilet, but she was pretty much out of options at that point.

Reddit - /u/anniehern
Reddit - /u/anniehern

That’s when Ismael stepped in to save the day! He didn’t want Kira to miss her flight or lose her beloved pet, so he came up with a better alternative.

“When nothing worked out, Ismael offered to take care of Theo himself while Kira was home for the summer.”

A thread on Twitter details the texts and photos that Ismael and his fiancé Jamee (who is also a Southwest employee) exchanged with Kira, where they gave regular updates on his status.

This is in direct contrast to the story of another student, Belen Aldecosea, who back in 2018 flushed her pet hamster down the toilet after Spirit Airlines told her that she couldn’t take Pebbles, her emotional support animal, on the plane with her.

All we can say is – poor Pebbles.

Flickr - Ryosuke Iwanaga
Flickr - Ryosuke Iwanaga

Thankfully, in this case, the couple happily babysat Theo over the summer and they even bought him a bigger fishbowl to swim around in!

Notice how they’re hilariously listed as “Airport Fish Taker” in Kira’s contact info?

Kira was so grateful to Ismael and Jamee that she bought them some gift cards to show her appreciation.

One of the texts they exchanged reads: “Hi it’s Jamee, Ismael’s fiancé. Thank you again for the gift card it was completely unnecessary. We hope you guys got back to your dorm ok. Let us know if you ever need anything.”

Kira picked Theo up at the beginning of her sophomore year, and the two are presumably living happily ever after.

Next summer when she goes home, perhaps she’ll rent a car instead. But if not, Theo will likely have a place to stay with his new godparents!

If you’ve ever wondered how an emotional support animal gets past the TSA checkpoint, here’s your chance.

Watch the video below to see this turkey take flight.

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