Russian man sneaks fat cat on flight; loses airline milesLast updated on Nov 13, 2019, 01:37 pm
For a Russian man, sneaking an overweight pet on a flight has caused trouble.
On a Moscow to Vladivostok flight, 34-year-old Mikhail Galin was told by the airliner Aeroflot that his pet cat, Viktor, was 2kg too overweight for the passenger cabin.
Galin, however, smuggled the cat aboard anyway and boasted about it on Facebook. So, the airline annulled his frequent flier miles.
Galin was told cat would be placed in luggage hold
Two weeks ago, Galin was flying from Riga to Vladivostok with a layover in Moscow, according to his Facebook post.
During check-in for the Moscow-Vladivostok journey, he was informed that Viktor weighed 10kg and pets weighing over 8kg are to placed in the luggage hold.
Despite Galin's pleas that Viktor was unwell and wouldn't likely survive the luggage hold, the airline staff didn't budge.
That's when Galin devised a cunning plan
Thereafter, Gavin wrote on Facebook, "Friends from Moscow, who has a cat of a similar color, help!" along with Viktor's photo.
Galin eventually found a Viktor lookalike of lesser weight, Phoebe. The next day, he went to the airport with Viktor, Phoebe, and Phoebe's caretakers.
He successfully swapped the cats after check-in and Viktor was on his way to Vladivostok in no time.
Aeroflot then annulled Gavin's 400k frequent flier miles
Unexpectedly, Galin's post went viral, coming to Aeroflot's attention and they were not happy.
The airline told Agence France-Presse the incident triggered an investigation.
With surveillance footage, Aeroflot confirmed that Gavin switched Viktor, breaking airline rules.
Consequently, the airline took Gavin out of its frequent flier program, annulling all the miles he had collected. Reportedly, Gavin had 4,00,000 miles (6,43,737 kms) on his account.
Angry netizens called for flash mob protests against cat's 'fatshaming'
Aeroflot's move left several people enraged as they claimed it amounted to "fat-shaming" and called for a flash mob.
"Offending a kitty! Nobody will forgive this," socialite Bozhena Rynska wrote on Facebook.
However, Gavin later admitted that he did flout airline regulations, reason notwithstanding.
He also pointed out that overweight luggage is permitted for an extra fee, but for pets, the rules are stricter.