LITTLE ROCK, Ark. — Spirit Airlines is once again in hot water after an Army veteran alleged that flight attendants recently forced him to flush his service dog down the toilet in the airplane bathroom, sources confirmed today.
Travis Billingham, 29, of Little Rock, Ark., said that Spirit had no problem initially allowing his service dog, a golden retriever named Bubbles, onto the flight, but soon after takeoff flight attendants told him his companion would need to be flushed after the pup apparently bothered some other passengers.
"The flight attendants were telling me, 'we're so sorry, but your dog is barking at your fellow passengers and flushing him is required after this kind of disturbance, according to FAA guidelines,'" said Billingham. "I honestly thought it was a federal regulation so I went along with it."
According to fellow passengers, Billingham was led to the rear of the plane with Bubbles, where he was told to put him into the toilet. "No, you idiot. Go head first. Cut off its oxygen source so it won't struggle," one flight attendant was overheard saying. "Push the damn thing. Harder goddamnit. I thought you people were strong in the military?"
The latest customer service fiasco for the company came just days after a college student said that Spirit representatives forced her to flush her emotional support hamster down the toilet rather than allow it on a flight. And last month, United Airlines banned a woman from flying with her emotional support peacock.
At least one of the Spirit flight attendants was aware of the previous incident with the hamster, which she referenced during Billingham's ordeal:
"We had a girl flush her stupid hamster and she didn't bitch nearly as much as you," the flight attendant said, according to several passengers. "Thank you for your snowflake service is more like it."
Sources say several passengers on Billingham's flight expressed symptoms common with post-traumatic stress disorder afterward, citing the emotional ordeal of hearing a large dog being placed into an airplane commode at 35,000 feet.
Jack Mandaville contributed reporting.