Woman claims boa constrictor in flight luggage is ‘emotional support snake’

The officers at Tampa International Airport ‘didn’t find this hyssssssterical!’

Lucy ThackrayUK Independent

A woman in Tampa, Florida was barred from flying after she claimed a four-foot boa constrictor in her luggage was an “emotional support” snake.

The US Transportation Security Administration (TSA) shared X-ray images of the passenger’s luggage, which was processed at Tampa International Airport, on Instagram, writing: “There’s a danger noodle in that bag…”

“Our officers at Tampa International Airport didn’t find this hyssssssterical!”

The agency said the incident had occurred on 15 December, with an X-ray of the woman’s hand luggage clearly showing a 1.2 metre boa constrictor curled into a figure-of-eight shape in the bag.

The woman reportedly told officers the snake’s name was Bartholemew, and insisted he had to travel with her on her flight as an “emotional support animal”.

Continuing with its slew of puns, the TSA social media team continued: “We really have no adder-ation for discovering any pet going through an x-ray machine.

“Do you have asp-irations of taking a snake on a plane? Don’t get upsetti spaghetti by not understanding your airline’s rules.”

It clarified that no US airlines allow snakes in hand luggage, with just a few permitting them to be transported in checked bags, as long as they are declared and packaged appropriately.

Tampa officials said that Bartholemew was released unharmed and returned to the owner’s home.

In recent years, several US airlines have tightened up the rules on “emotional support animals”, used by some passengers for psychiatric or anxiety reasons.

In 2018 a passenger was removed from a Frontier Airlines flight when they tried to bring an “emotional support squirrel” onboard.

The same year a woman tried and failed to bring an “emotional support peacock” onto a United Airlines flight from LA to Newark in New Jersey.

“We know that some customers require an emotional support animal to assist them through their journey,” a United rep said at the time.

“In order to ensure we provide the best service to everyone onboard our flights, consistent with government rules we currently require these customers to provide documentation from a medical professional and at least 48 hours advance notice.”

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