FAA Says Pigs Can Fly

ByABC News
November 29, 2000, 11:22 AM

P H I L A D E L P H I A, Nov. 29 -- USAirways did nothing wrong when it allowed a pig to fly first class from Philadelphia to Seattle in October, the Federal Aviation Administration found.

Maria Tirotta Andrews, the pigs owner, brought the 300-poundVietnamese pot-bellied pig named Charlotte onto the Boeing 757 onOct. 17, saying it was a therapeutic companion pet.

USAirways and its personnel acted in a reasonable andthoughtful manner, based on a legitimate request to transport aqualified individual with a disability and her service animal,said FAA spokesman Jim Peters.

Andrews said she has a heart condition so severe that she needsthe companionship of her pig to relieve stress.

I have said all along Charlotte was a service animal, allowedto travel with me, said Andrews, who recently moved to Everett,Wash., from New Jersey.

The FAA found USAirways acted in a reasonable manner. It was alegitimate request from a passenger with a disability. We considerthe matter closed, Peters said.

Under federal regulations, airlines must permit a service animalto accompany passengers to their seats.

Did Charlotte Really Go Hog Wild?The airline filed a report with the FAA that said the pig actedup when the plane landed, tried to enter the cockpit and refused toleave the galley until a passenger tossed food at her.

Andrews denies that her pig behaved badly.

My pig did not run around the planes aisles. My pig did notrun around anywhere, Andrews said.

Andrews told the airline ahead of time that she would have thepig on the plane, but said it only weighed 13 pounds.

When they saw it in Philadelphia, they said it was OK to loadit on the airplane, Andrews said.

The airline allowed the pig into first class for free.