P H I L A D E L P H I A, Oct 28, 2000 -- There’s no way to know if hell has frozenover, but it’s official — pigs can fly.
An embarrassed US Airways is promising it will never again allowbarnyard animals onto its flights after a 300-pound hog accompanied200 human passengers on a six-hour flight from Philadelphia toSeattle on Oct. 17.
“We can confirm that the pig traveled, and we can confirm thatit will never happen again,” US Airways spokesman David Castelvetersaid. “Let me stress that. It will never happen again.”
Sources familiar with the incident told the Philadelphia DailyNews for Friday’s editions that the pig’s owners convinced the airline that the animal was a “therapeutic companion pet,” like a guide dog for the blind.
Owners Had Doctor’s Note
The pig was traveling with two unidentified women, one in her30s, the other a senior citizen. An internal US Airways incidentreport said the owners claimed they had a doctor’s note thatallowed them to fly with the animal.
US Airways and Federal Aviation Administration rules allowpassengers to fly with service animals.
“According to [the] Philadelphia agent who talked to passengerover phone … passenger described pig as being 13 pounds, so basedon this info, authorization was given,” the report stated.Passengers on the flight told the Daily News the pig actuallyweighed several hundred pounds.
Pig Goes Wild
The pig, which spent the flight in the first row of first class,went ape when the aircraft taxied into Seattle, according to thereport.
It reportedly ran loose through the aircraft, squealing loudly,and even tried to enter the cockpit.
“Many people on board the aircraft were quite upset that therewas a large uncontrollable pig on board, especially those in thefirst-class cabin,” the incident report stated.
The pig made it off the plane but continued to squeal in theSeattle airport.
“Once the pig was off aircraft, another passenger had to pushwhile the two women pulled to get it in the elevator. The wholetime, the pig was squealing so loudly everyone in the terminalheard it,” according to the report.
FAA officials in Seattle said they were unfamiliar with theincident. They promised to investigate.