It was an unusual sight for passengers at an airport in the United States as a miniature horse was seen queuing up along with its owner to board a flight.
And then seen seated an aisle seat.
“At this time we would like to begin boarding with any active duty military, families traveling with children under the age of 3, and horses...” @AmericanAir @LilNasX @barstoolsports @BarstoolILLSt @realslimshanny @UNITEDA1RLINES @billyraycyrus @SouthwestAir @TSA @Kat103Omaha pic.twitter.com/qVRLCH4IFc— Evan Nowak (@ecnowak) August 30, 2019
Abrea Hensley was accompanied by her service animal as she was flying back home to Omaha, Nebraska, from Chicago's O'Hare International Airport on board the American Airlines flight.
The miniature horse was provided the aisle seat for a comfortable journey, and even sat of the lap of its owner at one point, MSN Lifestyle reports.
Hensley told Daily Mail UK that that the 136-pound, seven-year-old mare Flirty had been with her for the past two-and-a-half years.
She has even set up Instagram and Twitter accounts for Flirty, where last week she shared several adorable pictures and videos of her constant companion’s journey on their 90 minute flight from Chicago to Omaha.
View this post on Instagram
Check out Flirty’s new fly mask! It’s super cute. She doesn’t really need it for the flies, as we don’t have a whole lot of those. She will wear this outside to keep dust out of her eyes. Minis are so low to the ground that they get a lot of dust in their eyes, which is obviously irritating to them. Flirty hates traditional masks, so I had this one custom made for her. She should find it more comfortable. The black sections are made of mesh, so she can still see just fine. This isn’t a blindfold!
“Here's a great picture of the flight crew from American Airlines! They were fantastic and kind and very excited to see Flirty on their flight! Even the pilots had to come out to say hi,” Hensley captioned one photo.
“I fed her a lot of treats while we were ascending and descending to keep her swallowing and allow her ears to adjust to the pressure. She did show some discomfort by shaking her head once or twice, but the treats mostly did the trick to keep her comfortable,” she wrote.
But it looks like Flirty’s adventure in the skies was a one-off instance as Hensley feels traveling by car is much easier on her support animal.
Flirty and I took to the skies, yesterday! It was a great experience and I learned a lot. Flirty was FANTASTIC and handled it all like a pro. That being said, I’m going to keep traveling by car, it’s just easier on Flirty. Flying will be reserved for emergencies and such. https://t.co/AHfHXpoU2V— Flirty The Mini Service Horse (@FlirtyTheSH) August 30, 2019
Several netizens expressed their surprise at a miniature horse being allowed to board a flight.
But it turns out that dogs and miniature horses which have been "individually trained to do work or perform tasks for people with disabilities" are the only service animals the US Department of Justice considers protected under the Americans With Disabilities Act, according to The Guardian UK.
The airline told the Today Show that it was happy to have Flirty on board.