Here’s a lawsuit you do not see every day: Magician Bernard Poston of Minnesota is suing AirTran for a host of reasons, mostly stemming from the airline’s refusal to allow him to fly from Las Vegas to Minneapolis last month with a bird in his pocket.
Poston is quoted by a newspaper as saying, “The bird felt more comfortable next to me, anyway, because he likes my heart beat.”
Birds and Other Pets Must be in Carriers
The bird, a dove named Magic, is part of Poston’s act. It can reportedly “roll over, play dead and disappear.” What it can’t do, according to airline representatives, is fly anywhere on an AirTran plane without being in a carrier (AirTran’s pet travel fee: $69 each-way). In fact, no airline allows animals in an airplane cabin without being in a carrier. The only exception to that rule are guide dogs and service animals.
According to an AirTran PR representative, the first the airline knew of a bird onboard was when the owner “was showing a flight attendant a magic trick with the bird.” However, since Poston had no pet carrier, he and the dove were removed from the flight.
Did One Airline Allow Bird to Travel in Pocket?
According to the magician, Frontier Airlines did allow the bird to travel in his pocket, but so far Frontier has politely declined to comment on that matter.
By the way, the bird was apparently left with a Vegas airport employee for safe-keeping but Poston said he lost the man’s phone number. He claims the “loss” of his bird has cost him income, apparently since it has disrupted his act (he does, however, own another dove, one that is presumably waiting in the wings).
Should he choose to travel on AirTran again with the replacement dove in a carrier, he had better do so soon – beginning March 1, 2012, the airline will no longer carry birds of any type, including those who can perform magic tricks.