Lanice Powless found herself in an unfortunate situation traveling home for the holidays when her Southwest Airlines flight denied her beta fish, Cassie, entry onto the plane. Most planes allow fish onboard as a hand-held carry-on after being inspected by a TSA agent, but different flights can have different policies and, before she knew it, Powless was seperated from her fish with no way to find her again.
Powless, a sophomore at the University of Colorado, described her typical flight to KGTV:
"Typically I would just check in and then go through TSA and walked right on with it. No one's ever stopped me."
This time, however, boarding her flight from Denver to San Diego, a flight agent informed her it was the flight's policy to transport only dogs and cats which could fit under the seats:
"At first I was like, 'Oh, OK. Well, I've always flown with my fish with Southwest.'"
Thinking quickly, Powless handed her fish off to a passenger on another flight heading to San Diego, only to have that passenger stopped as well! With very little she could do about it, the sophomore found herself separated from her fish without even the time to get the stranger's contact information!
"I don't know where my fish is at. I don't know if they allowed her to take it."
In an official statement, Southwest made reference to its pet policy, "which does not allow for live fish to travel in the passenger cabin:"
"Our Team offered to re-book the Customer for a later flight to allow them to make arrangements for their pet but the Customer refused that option. The Customer eventually traveled on their originally scheduled flight."
This isn't the first time precious cargo has been left behind: last week, a human heart intended for transplant in Seattle was accidentally left on a plane, causing a plane to turn back around to deliver it. Fortunately, it eventually reached its intended recipient, but not without some stress to make it happen.
Twitter didn't know what they'd do in a similar situation! But, they were pretty sure they wouldn't be transporting a fish in the first place.
Hopefully, Powless and her fish are reunited soon!