Airport staff step in to babysit fish for passenger who can't take it on plane

Cassie the pink betta fish was treated to an unplanned minibreak in the airport.

Staff at an American airport stepped in to look after a passenger’s pet fish after she was told she wasn’t allowed to take it on her flight.

Lanice Powless was attempting to take her pink betta fish Cassie on a Southwest Airlines flight from Denver International Airport, something she says she has done before without a problem, but was told her pet wouldn’t be allowed to fly.

After trying to find alternative solutions, Cassie ended up being left in the airport as Lanice, who was returning to her home in California, got on her plane.

Enter airport staff, who made sure Cassie was well looked after during his unplanned minibreak.

This just in: A Fish Called Cassie!

Posted by Denver International Airport on Tuesday, December 18, 2018

A spokesman for the airport said: “Our great customer service team took care of Cassie until we could reunite him with his owner.”

Staff even wrote a little postcard to Lanice from Cassie, telling her about the fun time the fish had been having.

They wrote: “This place is great! There are lots of fun people. The food is delicious and there are tons of animals to play with – especially dogs!”

In an interview with local TV station Denver7, University of Colorado student Lanice said she was unhappy with how Southwest staff had handled the situation.

She said they wouldn’t let her leave the fish on the counter for half an hour while they waited for a friend to come and pick him up, and wouldn’t even let her speak to a passenger on another airline – one that did allow fish – who had offered to take Cassie for her.

A view of Denver International Airport
Denver International Airport – a lovely place for a minibreak (arinahabich/Getty)

“They were not allowing us to converse at all because they were thinking we were going to do some secret exchange throughout the airport,” Powless told Denver7.

“Even after I was no longer in possession of the fish, they still continued to have security around us and follow us through the airport and escorted onto our plane, as if we brought something bad onto the airport.”

Southwest said that, although the Transportation Security Administration does allow live fish on planes, the airline’s own rules do not.

A statement from Southwest read: “Last week, a customer attempted to bring a pet fish onboard their flight from Denver to San Diego. Our customer service agents informed the customer about Southwest’s pets 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 travelled on their originally scheduled flight.”

After his unscheduled stay at Denver International Airport, Cassie was collected by one of Lanice’s friends on Tuesday.

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