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California Man, Pet Opossum Booted From JetBlue Flight, Were Stranded for Days in Texas.

California Man, Pet Opossum Booted From JetBlue Flight, Were Stranded for Days in Texas.

California Man, Pet Opossum Booted From JetBlue Flight, Were Stranded for Days in Texas- via oklahoman.com


It was an opossum in a pink pet carrier, and she and her owner were stranded in Austin, Texas, for four days after being removed from a JetBlue flight, reports Abigail Rosenthal from the USA TODAY Network.

Tautenhahn and his opossum Zatara flew from Long Beach, California, to visit Tautenhahn’s mother for Thanksgiving, according to Fox 7 Austin and the New York Post. Tautenhahn said he made preparations to take Zatara on the plane.

“We did all of our homework about a month in advance,” Tautenhahn told the television station. “I called the Department of Transportation, cleared it with them. Cleared it with JetBlue, they said it was fine.”

“Already boarded on the plane sitting on the seat and one of the crew members came up and said, ‘Hey, can I speak with you outside?’" Tautenhahn told KTBC. “They said, ‘Hey, either you can leave her here or you can stay with her but she can’t fly.’ The feeling was insane, it was frustrating beyond belief because they let me come here with her, but now I can’t return with her.”

Tautenhahn said an air marshal how he had gotten to Austin, and he told the official, “Just like this,” KCBS reported. "I flew on the plane.”

Tautenhahn said he was told allowing the opossum on board the first flight was a mistake, and he was encouraged to rent a car to drive back to California, the television station reported.

“It was just beyond frustrating,” Tautenhahn told KCBS.

In a statement, JetBlue said it “gladly” accepts small dogs and cats in approved pet carriers.

'On the customer’s return trip, our crew members in Austin witnessed the opossum come out of its carrier and saw that it was not a cat or dog," the statement read. “The crewmembers informed the customer that the opossum would not be able to travel on the flight and worked to assist the customer with his options.”

Representatives with TSA and Austin-Bergstrom International Airport confirmed airlines are allowed to created their own pet policies, KTBC reported.

"Opossums are not banned from air travel at the federal, state or local level, the representatives said.

Tautenhahn was able to buy a ticket on a United Airlines flight and left for home four days after he and Zatara were removed from the JetBlue flight.

“I’m out four days of work now,” Tautenhahn told KTBC. “I’ve got deadlines to meet and I had to push them all back.

“If you have an opossum, you might want to just drive.”

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