P H I L A D E L P H I A, Oct 28, 2000 -- There’s no way to know if hell has frozen over, but it’s official — pigs can fly.
An embarrassed US Airways is promising it will never again allow barnyard animals onto its flights after a 300-pound hog accompanied 200 human passengers on a six-hour flight from Philadelphia to Seattle on Oct. 17.
“We can confirm that the pig traveled, and we can confirm that it will never happen again,” US Airways spokesman David Castelveter said. “Let me stress that. It will never happen again.”
Sources familiar with the incident told the Philadelphia Daily News 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 her 30s, the other a senior citizen. An internal US Airways incident report said the owners claimed they had a doctor’s note that allowed them to fly with the animal.
US Airways and Federal Aviation Administration rules allow passengers to fly with service animals.
“According to [the] Philadelphia agent who talked to passenger over phone … passenger described pig as being 13 pounds, so based on this info, authorization was given,” the report stated. Passengers on the flight told the Daily News the pig actually weighed 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 the report.
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 there was a large uncontrollable pig on board, especially those in the first-class cabin,” the incident report stated.
The pig made it off the plane but continued to squeal in the Seattle airport.
“Once the pig was off aircraft, another passenger had to push while the two women pulled to get it in the elevator. The whole time, the pig was squealing so loudly everyone in the terminal heard it,” according to the report.
FAA officials in Seattle said they were unfamiliar with the incident. They promised to investigate.