Snakes on a Plane? Not if the Transportation Security Administration can help it! TSA recently tweeted that a traveler attempted to bring a live boa constrictor snake through checkpoint security.
The passenger was traveling through Tampa International Airport in December when TSA officers detected the snake, named “Bartholomew,” in her carry-on bag when it went through the x-ray scanner.
Following the woman’s claim that Bartholomew is her emotional support pet, TSA notified the airline, which said that she couldn’t bring the snake aboard the aircraft.
In March 2021 the Department of Transportation rolled back protections on emotional support animals, placing the onus on airlines to decide whether or not they may fly. Airlines are not required to permit emotional support animals, but some do. This allowance is usually made for dogs and cats but can be made for other pets too although this is unlikely, particularly in the case of Bartholomew, who was likely not overjoyed to be zipped into a carry-on bag anyway. Some airlines initially allowed emotional support animals but have since reversed the decision following passengers bringing miniature horses and peacocks to the checkpoint.
It is worth noting that airlines allow service animals to fly in the cabin. This includes correctly trained psychiatric service dogs and cats, and travelers often carry a letter to attest to their need for mental and emotional support.
If you are thinking of traveling with a pet, first check with your airline to find out what is and is not acceptable.