Sunset clouds blue sky
Photograph ©2009 by Brian Cohen.

Forget Hamsters. How About True Emotional Support From an Airline?

Peacocks and hamsters; hamsters and peacocks. An endless proliferation of ridiculous stories seem to constantly flood the Internet — especially regarding so-called emotional support animals.

How about a touching story for once, which involves an airline called British Airways; a member of FlyerTalk; and a close friend who was losing a battle with cancer?

Forget Hamsters. How About True Emotional Support From an Airline?

I have taken the liberty of replicating verbatim what FlyerTalk member crmster posted earlier this week, which was so moving that at least 176 fellow FlyerTalk members “liked” the content:

Today was a day I knew was happening but didn’t expect it so soon.

I have a close friend who was terminally ill. I have known about this for some time but was not sure quite how long she had left

I was in Santiago with work and got the phone call that I was utterly dreading and as soon as I seen who was calling me (Another friend) I just knew.

I had expected this day and had said to myself that given I had known her since I was a very small person that I would basically throw no matter how much it cost to get home if the worse was to happen.

I was on a work trip in WT+ and was in SCL 3 days when I received the phone call. My first instinct was right get home now. I called the Gold Line after calling my Corporate TA Amex to see if there was anything they could do , Through in 2 minutes, Explained the situation and said I didn’t care how but I had to be back in the UK ASAP. Girl took a look at the options and said head to the airport.

On route to Airport the girl called back saying go to the check in desk as BA250 was leaving in 4 hours and I had a seat. She said quote my PNR and ask them to read the notes

Got to check in and the girl had changed my PNR which was T class and I had a seat. The charge ? Nothing absolutely zero, no change fees, ticket fees, nothing I was genuinely shocked.

After calling home to explain I was on way back, I got to the gate and sat down in my seat in WT+ The CSD came over and said come with me and she put me in J asked what my bag looked like and fetched it and put it above my seat.

All in all great flight from what I remember as it literally took off I had a drink or two then went to bed as I knew I had to be on the ball at home,

Landed in LHR and the flight was early got my bag thanked the crew and got up the ramp and there was a suited gent with my name on a piece of A4, He met the aircraft escorted me from the aircraft and took me straight to the gate via Border Control for the GLA flight from A Gates which was leaving in an hour.

End of this story is a happy and a sad one.

I made it to the Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Glasgow and had 2 hours with my closest childhood friend before she lost her battle with Cancer and I’ll be honest there is nothing that will ever equal the pain I am currently feeling but at the same time, BA, Hats off you got me from Santiago to Glasgow without so much as a penny spent to me and I know a lot give them a hard time, perhaps desevered but right now, Hats off I cannot thank them enough for what they have done for me to get me those last precious hours that I never thought I would honestly get, Golden tickets will be submitted online but not sure if they mean anything these days, Anyway BA – WOW



Sure, I could have joined the bandwagon and wrote about the hamster which was allegedly flushed down the toilet by its owner — who is a woman 21 years of age — because she considered it an emotional support animal but was not allowed to board an airplane with it. I am not linking to an article about this story, with which I question its veracity. A simple search of a few seconds via the Internet will yield hundreds of results.

If you noticed in recent months, I have quietly significantly cut down on the number of sensational articles — thanks in part to feedback from you. Those articles usually generate plenty of “clicks” which helps pay the bills; and yes, I am missing out on them — but I did not become a “blogger” just to repost sensational news articles. I prefer to try to use my small voice to help make a difference in this world.

There are not enough stories which are similar to the one highlighted in this article. Maybe the reason is because they do not happen often enough. Perhaps not enough people are interested in reading these types of stories. I do not know.

All I know is that I would rather let the story speak for itself — from the point of view of crmster — and if you have been reading The Gate all of these years, you know that I am adamant about doing what I can to help fellow members of FlyerTalk…

…even if it means simply highlighting a touching story — which became possible thanks to the considerate employees of British Airways, who were not thinking about profits, policies and procedures. All they genuinely cared about was helping a fellow human being in need, which seems to be all too rare these days — and their efforts made the world all the better.

Finally, this is for crmster: the pain which you are currently feeling is one with which I am unfortunately all too familiar. For what it is worth, my thoughts are with you; as well as the family, friends and colleagues of your close friend — may she rest in peace…

Photograph ©2009 by Brian Cohen.

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