Traveling with a pet is hard enough, given the added fees and in-flight cajoling. There are a lot of bizzare animals who have (legally) sat in an airplane at some point. While many airlines allow out-of-the-ordinary pets to fly in the cargo hold (where the atmosphere is unpressurized and temperatures are often unregulated) or in container in the cabin, there are a few that have made headlines as traveling emotional support animals. In an interview with NBC, Laura Glading—president of the American Airlines flight attendants union, shared a few words on the support animal influx on airplanes: "Just about any animal but a snake is welcome."
This has become a bit of an issue for airlines, though, given that the only real documentation needed for bringing your pet turkey on a flight with you is a note from a doctor. It's up to the airlines to ask for documentation and decide which pets do and don't get a spot on the plane. Ahead, a few out-of-the-ordinary flyers passengers have found themselves seated next to.
Last month, the image above took the Internet by storm. A flight attendant shared the photo of a "therapy pet" that was flying with his owner. The best part? It's a festive turkey, judging by the seasonal ribbon or wrapping paper draped around its neck.
In November 2014, one passenger brought her pet pig along for her flight from Connecticut's Bradley International Airport to Washington the day before Thanksgiving. Passengers were surely baffled and all was going well until the pig defecated in the aisle and began howling one his owner attempted to clean up the mess. Needless to say, pet and passenger were removed and the flight was hopelessly delayed. Further proof that you never know what kinds of wrenches will be thrown into your holiday travel.
Last year, an NBC producer investigated the prevelance of support animals on airplanes and successfully brought Xena—a 15 lb. Sulcata Tortoise—aboard two different flights. One flight attendant even shared a story about the time she spotted a turtle attached to an airplane window via tiny suction cups on the four socks he was wearing (made special by its owner, of course).
In 2003, a blind man and his service animal were traveling from Boston to Chicago for a live taping of "The Oprah Winfrey Show." His travel partner was far from the expected dog you'd expect to see as a service animal, instead he brought his miniature horse Cuddles with him. And since Cuddles didn't fit in the main cabin, they were both upgraded to first class on their American Airlines flight. Read the full story over on the Wall Street Journal.
Considering you won't find many kangaroos outside of a zoo or Australia, this is a rare case. But there has been at least one photo taken of an adorable kangaroo buckled into an airplane seat (proof) on American Airlines. One can only hope to be seated next to an adorable animal such as this.
Erika Owen is the Audience Engagement Editor at Travel + Leisure. Follow her on Twitter and Instagram at @erikaraeowen.