Southwest Kicks Woman Off Flight for Crossing a Line With Her Puppy
The plane had to return to its gate to let her off before it could depart.
Travel days are already stressful, but traveling with a pet adds an extra layer of chaos. In addition to getting personal documents and tickets in order, you've also got to remember your pet's items. Then there's the hassle of getting to the airport, navigating the security line, and making your way to your gate with an animal in tow. Once on the flight, you can relax a little—but only if your pet is well-behaved and accustomed to flying. If not, you might be in for an anxiety-inducing time, listening to your pet cry and worrying that they're disrupting fellow passengers. Or you might not be able to fly at all: One passenger booked on a Southwest flight recently learned that the hard way. Read on to find out why she was kicked off the plane after giving her puppy some extra attention.
A video shows a woman getting kicked off a Southwest flight with her puppy.
On Oct. 21, TikTok user Sara Price (@_sara_price_) shared a video of what she says is another passenger getting kicked off a Southwest flight for petting her puppy, according to USA Today. The video depicts the other woman taking her carry-on bag and dog carrier and leaving the plane.
In the video's caption, Price wrote that she had met the woman while boarding the Southwest Airlines flight; the other passenger had just flown to Colorado Springs to pick up her puppy, and was flying home to California.
The caption continues, "The puppy was whining a little, and the flight attendant boarding everyone walked up to her and said, if your dog doesn't be quiet, you may not be able to fly. She sticks her hand in the soft carrier and pets the puppy. It stopped whining."
After the group sat down, there was another incident where the woman was petting her puppy with the carrier in her lap, and the flight attendant said the carrier needed to be zipped and put under the seat. Price explains that the woman followed the directions and put the carrier under the seat. The plane then began taxiing from the gate.
At that point, "The dog gave a very soft whine, so she leaned over and started petting it from the outside of the carrier, but right at the mesh," Price's caption explains. "All the attendants got in a group at the front of the plane and decided we needed to return to the gate and that she should be removed from the flight."
The woman who posted the video, as well as her husband, were also asked to leave the flight due to their "attitude," the poster said in a follow-up video.
Southwest responded to the video.
The original video received more than 2.3 million views, with commenters largely siding with the passengers. "I would want to pet my dog to check on them and make sure they are doing OK," wrote one supporter.
"And she's still being so polite what a beautiful lady I hope she gets everything she wants in life," wrote another.
Southwest responded to the outrage.
"We're aware of the videos, and our initial reports indicate that the customer would not comply with keeping her dog's kennel closed, which is our policy," a spokesperson for Southwest said in response to a request from People. "Our employees are trained to ensure customers are following protocol, and in this situation and after the customer repeatedly refused to comply with our crew's instructions, the decision was made to deplane the disruptive passenger."
This is Southwest's pet policy.
According to Southwest's website, the airline allows vaccinated domestic cats and dogs in the cabin on domestic flights. However, the pets must fit in carriers small enough to go under the seat. It costs $125 per carrier to bring your pet onboard.
The airline says that pets can be denied boarding for disruptive behavior, like scratching, excessive whining, barking, growling, biting, lunging, or urinating or defecating in the cabin or gate area. The airline also has specific guidance on carriers.
"Pets must be secured in the pet carrier at all times while in the gate area, during boarding/deplaning, and for the entire flight," the policy says. "If you don't follow this requirement, your pet may be denied transportation."
Other airlines have similar policies.
Other airlines have the same rules in place for carry-on pets. Delta requires that pets fit in a carrier that can go under the seat. "Your pet must remain inside the kennel (with door secured) while in a Delta boarding area (during boarding and deplaning), a Delta airport lounge, and while on board the aircraft," they say.
JetBlue has a similar policy as well. They only allow pets up to 20 pounds who can fit in a carrier that's stowed under the seat. "All pets must remain inside the pet carrier while at the airport and on the plane," they clarify.
And it's not just the airlines making these demands: It's also the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA). According to the agency's policy, carriers must be small enough to fit under seats without blocking anyone's path to the main aisle. and "your pet container must remain properly stowed the entire time the airplane is moving on the airport surface, and for take-off and landing."