In the past couple months, Chicago-based United Airlines joined several other airlines in limiting commercial airline travel for pets. The provider tightened the rules for comfort and emotional support animals; amphibians, goats, hedgehogs, insects, non-household birds, and all animals with tusks, horns, and hooves are no longer allowed to fly as service animals. To be honest, I don’t blame them; increasingly, passengers are bringing inappropriate pets into plane cabins under the guise of “emotional support.” Not only does this decrease the validity of emotional support animals (some of us actually need them to handle flight anxiety!), it’s just plain rude.
Now, I would love to travel with my pet potbellies if I could. But, even with these new airline restrictions, there are a few major issues with bringing a pig on an airplane.
- They’re huge! And I mean HUGE! Even the smallest adult potbelly pig, though still adorable, will weigh at least 70lbs—far more than the standard 20lb pet limit most airlines impose. It’s nearly the same as bringing a full-grown human child, albeit one who doesn’t speak, might scream, and can’t understand when you tell him to calm down.
- They’re loud! If you’ve never heard a pig scream… well… consider yourself lucky. Actually, watch this video. Incessant barking will get dogs—even service dogs—kicked off airplanes. I can’t imagine a pig keeping calm for a whole flight, and the only thing worse than a screaming baby and a barking dog is an unhappy potbelly pig.
- You can still bring your pet on vacation. If you really want to bring your pig, fly him as cargo. It’s expensive and time-consuming, but if your pet really needs to get somewhere, it’s an excellent option. Rates and availability vary by airline, but it’s worth looking into if you need your potbelly to join you on that beach getaway.
Now, of course, there is the occasional success story. In early 2016, this 28-year-old woman brought her pig, Hamlet, on a flight to Miami without an issue. Now, odds are that your pig is not as well-behaved as Hamlet, and even if an airline allows pet pigs, you and the animal will be better off if he just stays at home.