Horse escapes on flight headed to Belgium, forces cargo plane to return to New York's JFK
The air atlanta icelandic pilot radioed air traffic controllers to report that a horse had escaped its stall on the flight and couldn't be secured.
A cargo plane headed from New York to Belgium was forced to return to John F. Kennedy International Airport after a horse escaped its stall and was on the loose on the aircraft, according to a call between the pilots and air traffic control posted to YouTube.
Less than an hour into the Nov. 9 Air Atlanta Icelandic flight on a Boeing 747-400, a pilot radioed air traffic controllers to report the wayward horse, according to air traffic control recordings made by LiveATC.net and compiled by You Can See ATC .
“We have a live animal, horse onboard the plane, and the horse managed to escape the stall,” the pilot tells the air traffic controller. “We don’t have a problem as of flying-wise, but we need to return … back to New York. We cannot get the horse back secured.”
The pilot also asked for a veterinarian to meet the aircraft upon return to the airport because of "a horse in difficulty."
Air Atlanta Icelandic did not immediately respond to USA TODAY's request for a comment or an update on the horse's condition on Wednesday. But an airline spokesperson confirmed the incident and the authenticity of the audio posted to YouTube to CNN .
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As the plane headed back to JFK, air traffic controllers allowed the aircraft to dump approximately 20 tons of fuel between Martha’s Vineyard and Nantucket in Massachusetts before re-landing because the plane was too heavy, according to the call.
The cargo flight was in the air for only an hour and a half before it touched back down at JFK, according to data from FlightAware .
The aircraft later took off again and landed in Liege, Belgium at 6:49 a.m. on Nov. 10.
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Horse breaks free mid-air, forcing cargo plane’s return to New York
Boeing 747 cargo plane turns back after horse becomes untethered in flight and pilot says ‘We cannot get the horse back secured’
A cargo plane heading for Belgium was forced to return to New York City after a horse escaped from its crate on board.
The horse became loose on the Boeing 747 cargo plane within 30 minutes of the plane’s initial takeoff, according to the audio clips from air traffic control that were reconstructed on YouTube , ABC News reported .
“We have [a] live animal … horse … on board the airplane,” the plane’s pilot told air traffic control.
“We need to return back to New York. We cannot get the horse back secured,” the pilot said, adding that flying the plane was not a problem.
The pilot also requested a vet for the horse upon the plane’s return to the John F Kennedy airport in Queens, but the pilot did not elaborate on possible injuries sustained by the horse.
The plane also had to dump 20 tonnes of fuel into the Atlantic Ocean “approximately 10 miles west of Martha’s Vineyard”, due to the weight of the plane.
Once the plane landed, the pilot requested assistance with the horse on the plane’s ramp.
“We have a horse … in difficulty,” the pilot said.
Air Atlanta Icelandic, the plane’s operator, did not respond to the Guardian’s request for comment.
This latest incident is not the first time an animal has escaped its cargo stall while onboard a plane.
In August, a bear escaped from its crate on a flight operated by Iraqi Airways that was departing from Dubai to Baghdad, Associated Press reported .
Video footage of the bear went viral, showing the animal walking around the plane’s cargo compartment.
In the video, aircraft staff are seen petting the bear in an attempt to keep the creature calm. The bear was later sedated and removed from the aircraft, but customers complained online that the trouble with the bear caused major travel delays.
An unnamed Iraqi Airways official later confirmed to AP that the bear was transported to Baghdad in the end.
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Plane forced to return to JFK Airport after horse on board gets loose
The cargo jet had ascended 31,000 feet, according to FlightRadar24.
A 747 cargo plane heading to Belgium from New York was forced to return to John F. Kennedy International Airport after a horse escaped from its stall, according to the air traffic control audio.
According to the audio clip, which was obtained by You Can See ATC via Live ATC, the horse got loose within 30 minutes of takeoff.
The Boeing 747 was barely at 31,000 feet when a pilot told air traffic control that a horse had escaped from its stall and that they needed to return to JFK on Thursday, according to FlightRadar24.
In the air traffic control audio, a pilot is heard saying, "We are a cargo plane with a live animal, a horse, on board. The horse managed to escape its stall. There's no issue with flying, but we need to go back to New York as we can't resecure the horse."
The flight was forced to make a U-turn off the coast of Boston and dump about 20 tons of fuel over the Atlantic, "10 miles west of Martha's Vinyard," due to the flight's weight, according to the audio.
Amid the fuel dump, the pilot requested a veterinarian to be present at JFK when the plane arrived.
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Once landed, when ATC asked if the flight required assistance, "On the ground, negative. On the ramp, yes, we have a horse in problem."
It remains unclear how the horse managed to escape but it remained unrestrained until the plane landed at JFK, according to the audio.
The flight was able to take off a short time later and successfully arrive at Liege Airport on Friday morning, according to FlightRadar24.
Air Atlanta Icelandic, the charter airline operating the flight, did not immediately respond to ABC News' request for comment.
ABC News' Sam Sweeney contributed to this report.
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Can Horses Travel by Plane? (Detailed Guide With Expenses)
Every year, around 5,000 horses air travel overseas with equine transporting corps. The protocols of horse transportation are pretty complex as every country has a different set of rules.
Despite the high air travel rate, the majority of the folks don’t know how it works. More specifically, can horses travel by horses?
Yes, horses can travel but on the Cargo plans. Cargo planes have jet stalls that keep the horses safe throughout the flight. Yet, the process requires paperwork and preparation. Before transporting a horse overseas, you need to pass it through different procedures.
- 1 How exactly does horse travel by plane?
- 2.1 1. Pre-preparations
- 2.2 2. When leaving
- 2.3 3. En route
- 2.4 4. When reaching
- 3.1 1. Traveling gears
- 3.2 2. The stalls
- 3.3 3. The staff
- 3.4 4. Loading up process
- 3.5 5. Feeding
- 3.6 6. Quarantine
- 4 How much does it cost to transport a horse by plane?
- 5.1 How do you transport a horse on a plane?
- 5.2 What airlines fly horses?
- 5.3 Are horses sedated for air travel?
- 6 Conclusion
How exactly does horse travel by plane?
Not much rocket science defines how exactly a horse travels by plane. What happens is;
A shipping agent picks up your horse from the home and drops it at the airport. Here, an expert veterinarian passes your horse several blood works, then loads it in the van. The van finally loads the horse in the plane- ready to take off.
By reading, this process is like cutting a cake piece and eating with a fork. Yet, the reality is a bit different. This whole process takes several hours to complete.
The presence of expert veterinarians is necessary; to make sure no health problems occur.
Preparations you need for horse air traveling!
Just the way you prepare for traveling, here are the things you need to do for your horses.
The pre-preparation list is pretty extended for transporting horses by air traveling. Before entering any country, you have to fulfill the requirement list. First, you need to pass your horse through several tests.
If you are exporting or importing horses for sports events, specific vaccinations are also required. Besides that, horses need to complete the quarantine period before air traveling.
Make sure your horse is in its best shape, has no sleeping disorders, and eats aptly. It depends on the country the horse is entering about what vaccinations are required.
All blood samples will be sent to the border for screening. Upon approval, your horse is all set to proceed further.
2. When leaving
So the departure date is here. You do not need to load your horses in your van and drop them off at the airport. Instead, the shipping agents will come to take your horses to the airport.
When reaching the airport, horses are loaded in a van for detailed inspection. A veterinarian will come to check whether horses are having fever or not before leaving.
Upon cancellation of flight due to weather conditions or any other, the horses are sent back to their stalls (rather than being stuck at the airport).
After the health checkup is done, the van will load the horses on the plane. Some air companies might ask horses to walk up to the plane.
3. En route
For this, you need to be very attentive. Whatever your horses prefer eating throughout the day, you need to tell the shipping agent. In general, the jet stall has net hay in front.
Sometimes shipping agents do not have a variety of fodders (they mostly use timothy or alfalfa). It is advisable to provide specific hay to the shipping agent to prevent disturbance in the dieting plan.
Ask the shipping agents to ensure the horses are well hydrated throughout the flight. Ask them to provide the preferred hay yet in less quantity. Also, the cargo should be cool to keep the horse happy and comfy.
4. When reaching
The last flight preparation protocol is to check the detailing at the arrival. Most horse owners prefer presenting at the arrival time- so they can handle their horses in their way.
Before handing over your horse to you, a veterinarian will check the hydration level, temperature, attitude, and appetite; even before arrival, daily urine and blood tests are recommended to make sure the output is standard.
After getting your horse, isolate it for 7-10 days to reduce the chances of illness spreading. During the quarantine period, call a veterinarian to have a detailed inspection.
Things you should know before transporting horses by air!
Here is the list of things you should be careful about before transporting your horses by air.
1. Traveling gears
The major traveling gear required is traveling horseshoes. Consider putting them at home instead of at the airport. Check the temperature of the country your horse is arriving at.
If the current temperature is in winter and the arriving country has summer, remove the extra weather layers to prevent overheating and stress.
2. The stalls
Just like we travel in business and first-class, the same equation applies to horses. Depending on your budget, book a stall for your horse. The business class will have two horses/ stall, while the first-class offers one horse/ stall.
3. The staff
Don’t you want your horses to have VIP protocol while air traveling? While finalizing the contract with the shipping agent, ask him about the team he offers. Have a meet-up with the staff.
Ask them how they will take care of your horses.
4. Loading up process
This factor is of crucial importance. A wrong loading up process can cause a slight fever to horses which lasts throughout the flight.
Ask the shipping agent to load the horses via vans instead of walking them up to the plane.
As discussed earlier, the diet plan shouldn’t be disturbed at any cost. You have two options; whether to pay extra for the preferred horses’ fodder. Or provide them the hay yourself if you think they will compromise on the quality.
Quarantine is a must; before and after air travel. The least to isolate your horses is seven days. However, much better if you go for three weeks.
During quarantine, make sure your horse is separate from others, don’t go too close to the horse, and have weekly blood tests.
How much does it cost to transport a horse by plane?
Once you decide you will transport a horse by plane before the next sports event, the next thing that will come across your way is the cost.
Transporting animals overseas is colossal accountability. Whoever takes the responsibility has to be responsible for the on-flight checkups and health conditions.
The cost of transporting a horse by air depends on the mode of traveling, several test checks, destination, and the equine transporting company you opt for. An average cost is $2000-10,000 for an overseas one-way flight.
The reason for the high rates of transportation is the horses’ size and the traveling protocols they necessitate. The sensitive nature of the horses makes it hard for the shipping agents to handle them.
That is why they hire professionals for the job (of course, they are costly).
How do you transport a horse on a plane?
Here is the procedure for transporting a horse on a plane;
- Hire a shipping agent and book a cargo plane.
- Pass your horse through vaccinations and blood tests and isolate it.
- The agent will drop your horse at the airport for the last tests, then lastly load it on the plane.
- After reaching the destination, again isolate the horse and take it wherever you want.
What airlines fly horses?
It depends on which country you belong to. The most famous cargo airlines include UPS, Tax Sutton, and FedEx. Tax Sutton is the first-ever air equine transporting company to ship horses overseas.
Are horses sedated for air travel?
Horses are not sedated for air travel as it will result in falling on the floor and getting injuries. As an alternative, horses remain active throughout the flight to maintain body balance against gravity.
As it is the time of the year, make sure to participate in the sports event with your best horse. Undoubtedly the process is hectic but is necessary to air travel horses.
What you need to do is, make sure your horse is clear with all bloodwork and vaccinations. If you detect flight fever in your horse, consider canceling the flight before it worsens the situation.
Keep in touch with the shipping agent to know your horse is doing and eating well. Give extra guidance to not compromise on the diet plan and quality. A body hydration level test is also needed to be checked.
Try to be present at the arrival time to handle your horse effortlessly and calm him down in the unknown place. Lastly, when you reach the sports event, ensure to give your best.
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Flying horses around the globe: how it works
- Transporting horses
Racing is now a truly international sport with horses flying all over the world to compete on different continents for big prizes. Travelling head girl to trainer Andrew Balding Leanne Masterton explains what’s involved when flying overseas with a horse. Together with seven-year-old gelding, Side Glance (pictured below), the pair have travelled the world to compete in destinations as varied as Australia, Dubai, Hong Kong, Singapore and America.
Preparation is key A great deal of preparation goes into ensuring racehorses receive the highest standard of care throughout their trips abroad. There are a wide range of factors to take into account, including how training schedules fit in with lengthy flights, ensuring racehorses are fed and watered during the journey, dealing with quarantine regulations in different countries, and ensuring that all the necessary paper work is in order ahead of travelling. Racing overseas is planned months in advance to ensure that everything runs smoothly and the horse’s journey is as comfortable as possible.
Tack is the last thing to be packed As travelling head girl, it is Leanne’s job to prepare for the trip: “I will usually get all the gear ready the week before we fly, as between going racing and riding out it’s nearly always a manic week. Tack is the last thing I pack because if it’s a late afternoon or evening flight I will have to ride out first. However, the horse that is flying will get the morning off. Once the hampers are packed and ready, it’s just water containers to be filled, haynets to be stuffed and enough feed readied for the journey.”
Quarantine Australia is the only country that Leanne has travelled to where horses have to spend two weeks in quarantine in the UK before they leave. This is because, with no equine influenza in Australia, they do not currently vaccinate against it as they do in every other racing country. Racehorse quarantine in the UK is done at Side Hill Stud in Newmarket.
“We shower every time we enter quarantine and horses are allowed to use designated gallops only between 4pm and 5pm as quarantine regulations do not permit them to be within 100 meters of a horse that is not in quarantine.
“Every piece of exercise is supervised by a vet and a team of staff, who also keep dog walkers away. During this period blood and nasal swab tests are done for equine influenza, among other equine diseases. Horses temperatures are also taken twice daily. After two weeks, providing all the tests are clear, it’s time to fly.”
When travelling anywhere else in the world with horses, the same tests have to be done and have to be clear prior to flying. The tests can be carried out at home and the horse will not enter quarantine until it arrives abroad. The racehorses stay in quarantine overseas for the duration of their stay, and in America, horses are kept in isolation for at least 72 hours.
Take-off With equine air travel increasing, racehorses will usually be flown in custom-built aircraft adapted specifically for transporting horses. “Pilots will not allow people to stay in the hold with the horses during take off. Racehorses are used to travelling in a horsebox and generally they are not fussed by getting on a plane. I have never been on a flight where a horse has got upset.
“After take off I will untie him [Side Glance], as he likes to stand backwards and sleeps a fair bit. I can’t say who sleeps more, him or me. On a flight full of horses, there are no air stewards or stewardesses, so the grooms and vets are left to fend for themselves. No in flight entertainment either, so a good book is essential!”
Keeping hydrated While flying, it is very important to keep horses hydrated. “Before we leave, any horse of Andrew’s that is flying will be given a Duphalyte IV drip by the vet, this is full of vitamins and minerals. During the flight I would offer water every couple of hours. If a horse isn’t drinking well after a couple of hours I would give them some electrolyte paste by mouth, it’s full of salts and minerals and encourages them to drink.
“A vet will always be on board along with an assistant, so should a horse show signs of becoming dehydrated they will administer IV fluids. But I have never been on a flight where this has had to be done.”
Careful feeding “Feeding on a flight has to be done with care, greedy horses eating too much can develop colic so I have found it best to feed little every four to six hours and, if possible, off the floor of the stall. This encourages horses to get their heads down, so there is more chance of anything in their lungs from the air con running out.”
Landing On landing, the horses are transported straight to quarantine when in Australia or the stables reserved for international runners in other countries.
“Once the horses have had a good walk they are put into their new stables and temperatures are taken. A risen temperature is the first indication of a horse developing travel sickness so temperatures are taken twice a day for two weeks again. This is witnessed by a vet every morning and closely monitored. I’m lucky in that no horse I have ever travelled has suffered from travel sickness but I have seen it in Hong Kong and Australia. Horses develop a high temperature, a cough, a dirty nose and look dull in their coat. They have to be treated with antibiotics and it takes time for them to recover.”
Exercising after a flight “After 36 hours travelling, you don’t put a horse under any strain in their exercise. So, following our arrival Down Under, it is a couple of days just leading out and picking grass, giving them time to acclimatise. This time in Australia [where Side Glance ran in the Cox Plate], we also have Van Percy who was second in the Ebor. Although he was a first time flyer Van Percy only lost 3kg on the flight, and Side Glance, the old pro, lost 14kg! This is normal for him, and it only takes two days for him to it put back on.
“Both horses were being prepared to run exactly two weeks after landing so after a couple of days walking in the compound we hit the track for a trot. Both horses pulled our arms out trotting, Matti, who rides Van Percy, and I were still suffering with jet lag and it’s fair to say the horses recover a lot quicker than us!”
Trainers will aim to have a horse primed and race fit before they travel so they will only need easy work after landing in the immediate build up to a race.
“After a few days of steady cantering Side Glance did his first easy piece of work on the Tuesday before the race. He did his alone as he can pull very hard in company and we didn’t want him to do too much. The days leading up to the race they are just kept ticking over with steady canters. On the day before, I allow ‘Sidey’ an inch or two of rein so he can stretch out down the straight as he has been known to run gassy and keen if too fresh.”
Coming home “When Side Glance arrives home from a trip the first thing he does is roll in his own stable, he will then check out his feed pot before he has a long sleep.
“The day after a trip abroad he goes for a mini break to Chris Bonner’s (Andrew Balding’s assistant). He always has the same stable there and will jump off the lorry ramp when he arrives. He gets to play in the paddock but he also has an hour a day on the horse walker, otherwise he lets himself go a little too much. He was there for 10 days after travelling to Chicago this year and put on 25kg… He loves it there!!”
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A horse loose on a flight to Belgium forces a cargo jet back to New York
FILE - A taxi passes under the entrance to JFK Airport in the New York borough of Queens, Aug. 15, 2003. A cargo plane headed from New York’s John F. Kennedy International Airport to Belgium had to return to JFK on Nov. 9, 2023, after a horse escaped its stall and got loose in the hold, according to air traffic control audio. (AP Photo/Stuart Ramson, File)
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NEW YORK (AP) — A cargo jet headed to Belgium from New York had to turn around mid-flight after a horse escaped its stall and got loose in the hold, according to air traffic control audio.
The Boeing 747 operated by Air Atlanta Icelandic had just started its flight across the Atlantic Ocean on Nov. 9 when the pilot radioed air traffic control in Boston and said that a horse on board had escaped its stall.
“We don’t have a problem as of flying-wise but we need to return, return back to New York. We cannot get the horse back secured,” the pilot said on air traffic control recordings made by the site LiveATC.net and compiled by the site You Can See ATC .
The controller cleared the aircraft to return to John F. Kennedy International Airport.
Escaped horse on a cargo jet
A horse got loose on a plane forcing the flight to divert, dump fuel and land at JFK airport last week. AP correspondent Julie Walker reports.
The pilot said that due to the plane’s weight, he had to dump 20 tons of fuel before going back to New York.
The controller gave the OK and alerted nearby pilots about a “fuel dumping in progress approximately 10 miles west of Martha’s Vineyard.”
The 747 pilot had one more request. “I do believe we need a vet — veterinarian, I guess you call it, for the horse upon landing,” he said. “Is that something you can speak to New York about?”
The controller said he would pass it on.
The cargo flight disruption was first reported by ABC News . The flight landed at Kennedy, took off a short time later and successfully arrived at Liege Airport the next morning, according to the tracking site FlightRadar24.
A message seeking comment was sent to Air Atlanta Icelandic.
- Main content
A horse broke loose in a cargo plane, forcing the pilots to dump fuel and return to JFK
- A horse managed to escape its stall shortly after a cargo plane took off from JFK on November 9.
- One of the pilots told air traffic controllers the horse could not be secured and asked to return.
- Audio of the request was posted on YouTube by the You can see ATC channel.
A cargo plane had to return to JFK after a horse broke loose and the crew couldn't get it back in its stall.
Air Atlanta Icelandic flight 4592 took off at 2.30 p.m on November 9 on its way to Liege, Belgium.
The Boeing 747 climbed to about 31,000 feet when a pilot called air traffic control to say that a horse had escaped from its stall and that they needed to return to JFK.
"We are a cargo plane with a live animal, a horse, on board the airplane. And the horse managed to escape his stall," says a pilot in audio posted on YouTube by You can see ATC.
"We don't have a problem as of flying wise but we need to return back to New York. We cannot get the horse back secured," he warned.
Cleared to return to New York, the jet did a U-turn off the eastern coast of Canada, tracking data from Flight Radar 24 shows.
The crew had to first dump fuel over the Atlantic to be able to land safely.
"Due to our weight we need to dump 20 tonnes of fuel," one of the pilots told air traffic control.
It's unclear how the horse managed to escape, but it remained unrestrained until the plane landed at JFK. The crew had requested a vet be on standby as the animal was "in difficulty," per the audio recording.
The aircraft successfully reached Belgium the following day.
Air Atlanta Icelandic did not immediately reply to a request for comment from Business Insider.
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In the News: Horse Forces Unscheduled Landing at JFK
Last week an air atlanta icelandic flight was forced to turn back to new york city after a horse broke free from the plane’s cargo. here are updated details of the incident as well as the outcome..
Editor’s Note: Upon initial publication of this story, the state of the horse was not fully known. Therefore, we made light of the incident based on partial information and picturing horses that can be escape artists. We have since updated the article to reflect the severity of the situation.
UPDATE: According to CNN , the horse that partially escaped its stall had to be euthanized due to the extent of its injuries. Apparently, the plane hit turbulence, which caused the horse to spook and jump nearly halfway over the front barrier of the stall. The horse was hung up with his front legs over the barrier and his hind legs still in the stall. Despite the wide array of veterinary assistance and equipment available once the plane landed, the horse’s injuries were deemed too severe for the horse to survive, so humane euthanasia was performed.
Many online critics have questioned where the grooms and handlers were while the horse was struggling on the plane. The truth of the matter is that it would have been nearly impossible for the flight grooms to get the horse back into his stall safely in mid-air due to the logistics of how horses are flown.
Before being put on the plane, the horses are loaded into large shipping containers with three narrow stalls per container. Those containers are then lined up inside the plane, making it impossible to open a stall door mid-flight. There is enough room for the horses to hang their heads over the front of the stall in order to eat and drink, but the aisle is too narrow to maneuver should there be an issue with a horse.
These photos are good examples of how horses fly:
These posts are from the Facebook page of Lazcar International. They are not related to the story directly. They are just to give you an idea of how horses travel by plane.
Last week, a horse on a flight from New York to Liege, Belgium got loose on the plane, forcing the Air Atlanta Icelandic flight to turn around and make an unscheduled landing at JFK.
Boeing 747. Wikimedia commons.
According to air traffic control audio, a 747 cargo plane heading to Belgium from New York was forced to return to John F. Kennedy International Airport after a horse escaped from its stall. The audio clip, which was obtained (and you can listen to if you feel so inclined) by You Can See ATC via Live ATC, indicates the horse got loose within 30 minutes of takeoff. The Boeing 747 had barely reached 31,000 feet when the pilot contacted air traffic control and reported that a horse had escaped from its stall and that they would need to return to JFK.
The pilot reported, “We are a cargo plane with a live animal, a horse, on board. The horse managed to escape its stall. There’s no issue with flying, but we need to go back to New York as we can’t resecure the horse.”
The flight in question was forced to make a U-turn off the coast of Boston. Due to the plane’s weight, it had to dump about 20 tons of fuel over the Atlantic before it could make its emergency landing at JFK. The pilot also requested that a veterinarian be present upon arrival at JFK because “we have a horse in a problem.”
The flight was able to resume its course, just a bit later than planned. It arrived successfully in Liege on November 10, 2023.
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A woman took her 115-pound miniature horse on a plane as a service animal. Now, she's worried it could be his last flight
By Caitlin O'Kane
February 20, 2020 / 3:09 PM EST / CBS News
A woman who gained national attention for bringing her miniature horse as a service animal on an airplane is now hoping the attention does not affect the Department of Transportation's decision to let miniature horses fly.
Ronica Froese flew from her home in Michigan to Ontario International Airport in California, with a stop in Dallas. With her was Fred, the miniature service horse. A photo of Fred in first class, dressed in a sleeve to prevent his hair and dander from floating into the air, has gone viral. But Froese says a lot of the attention has been negative.
Froese's service horse is direct-to-retrieval trained, meaning he can help her pick up objects when she can't bend over or lift. "I have an incurable autoimmune disease I was diagnosed with four and a half years ago," she explained to CBS News, adding that the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) approved miniature horses as service animals in 2011.
Froese got her first miniature horse, 280-pound Charlie, 14 months before she even got sick, she said. She ended up getting Freckle Butt Fred — or just Fred, for short — because he is a bit smaller than Charlie at 115 pounds. So, he can go more places — like airplanes.
Froese, who works as a finance manager, trained both of her service horses herself and told CBS News they aren't always with her, but on bad days when she needs help, they accompany her to work, the store or wherever else they are permitted.
Ahead of her vacation to Los Angeles, Froese contacted American Airlines and was told it was fine to fly with Fred. She purchased two first class tickets so she and Fred had space and weren't encroaching on anyone else. She also got advice from some friends who also train service horses, and she was confident about taking the flight with Fred.
"Since airlines have to allow miniature service horses — when the DOT made the ruling last August, they can't deny miniature service horses," Froese told CBS News, referring to the Department of Transportation's 2019 guidelines.
To address some of the debate regarding service animals in public places, the DOT clarified the guidelines in a statement issued in August 2019. "With respect to animal species, we indicated that we would focus our enforcement efforts on ensuring that the most commonly used service animals (dogs, cats, and miniature horses) are accepted for transport as service animals," the department said.
For her trip, Froese had to take four planes — from Michigan to Dallas and Dallas to California, then back. She said she received a few dirty looks along the way, but for the most part, the trip was successful and she was happy others got to see a miniature service horse in action.
"There's just not a big enough community for most people to see [a miniature service horse]," Froese said. "So it was a great experience... I could tell the people who weren't happy, but it is what it is. He was a picture-perfect service animal on the planes."
Froese said it took a lot of training to get Fred to a place where he could fly and stay calm. But now she's worried the attention her story is receiving may make it impossible to fly with him again.
"It's probably going to be the one and only time Fred and I are going to fly, because my gut tells me the Department of Transportation is going to say you can never fly again legally."
What do you do on a long BORING flight after a jam packed busy California vacation take a nap and use your Mommy's leg as a pillow. 🤩🤠💙Fred #househorse #frecklebutt #evilearsjr #miniservicehorse #mommyshelper #directedretrieval #mobilityservicehorse ✈ So it appears our news story is being showed on local news stations all over the country. Thank you to our friends that have let us know. 🤩 Posted by Fred-Mini Service Horse on Sunday, February 16, 2020
The Department of Transportation recently announced it is seeking to amend the guidelines again to ensure that those flying with service animals really need them and that the animals can be safety accommodated on a crowded passenger plane.
"The Department recognizes the integral role that service animals play in the lives of many individuals with disabilities and wants to ensure that individuals with disabilities can continue using their service animals while also reducing the likelihood that passengers wishing to travel with their pets on aircraft will be able to falsely claim their pets are service animals," the department said on January 22 .
On February 5, it submitted new proposed rules that would only require airlines to accommodate trained service dogs — not other species.
"Under the Department's proposal, airlines could choose to transport other species of animals that assist individuals with disabilities in the cabin for free pursuant to an established airline policy, but would only be required under Federal law to recognize dogs as service animals," the department said in the proposal.
"Any requirement for the accommodation of passengers traveling with service animals onboard aircraft necessarily must be balanced against the health, safety, and mental and physical wellbeing of the other passengers and crew and must not interfere with the safe and efficient operation of the aircraft," the rule proposal states.
Froese and Fred flew to California on February 7 and back on February 13, so the proposed rule change was already in motion before her story went viral. Still, she is worried about that the small community she's part of will become even smaller soon.
"The miniature horse community went six steps forward last August, now we're going six steps back because the DOT is going to ban us on April 6th," she said. Comments on the rule proposal will be accepted until April 6.
Aside from her story negatively impacting the miniature service horse community, Froese also said it has negatively affected her life.
"When I did my interview with my local Fox affiliate on Saturday, I did not know this was going to snowball the way it has," Froese said, adding she has received "hatred online" about traveling with her horse.
"I'm a very positive person. But my mental state — I've just never been like this," she said. Froese said journalists and viewers alike have "bashed" her. She even threatened to sue reporters she said incorrectly reported on her and Fred.
"I wish the public would just understand that a miniature horse is such a better option for some people," she said.
Froese said she hopes Fred's flying story — and the aftermath — teaches others a lesson.
"I just want the public to know in a world where you can be anything, be kind," she said. "And that's what I wish people online would learn. You can bash people and there are some people who mentally can't take it. I'm lucky I can take it."
Caitlin O'Kane is a digital content producer covering trending stories for CBS News and its good news brand, The Uplift .
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Horse-Forced Landing Throws Plane Off-Course
Imagine being the owner of the horse that made an entire plane turn around mid-air.
You read that headline right. Apparently, a Boeing 747 flying from New York to Belgium was forced to return to JFK after a horse on board "escaped from its stall."
Note: This photo is not of the horse in question.
The plane was around 31,000 feet in the air when the pilot contacted Boston air traffic control. "We have [a] live animal, [a] horse on board the airplane," the pilot told them . "And the horse managed to escape the stall."
Side note, that recording is wild to hear. You should listen to it.
The pilot said that they didn't have any problems flying, but that the plane needed to return to New York because the crew couldn't re-secure the horse.
Note: This image also does not contain the horse in question. We currently know next to nothing about our mystery horse.
"We don't have a problem...flying-wise," the pilot told air traffic control, "but we need to return, return back to New York. We cannot get the horse back secured."
Side note: According to CNN , apparently even horses travel in either first class, business class, or economy when flying. I need to know more about this particular horse and how it was traveling. Maybe she just wanted some of the honeycrisp apples they were giving out in first?
Apparently, less than 30 minutes into the flight, the plane pulled an abrupt U-turn somewhere near Boston. What's more, they notified Boston air traffic control that due to their weight, they would need to dump 20 ton s of fuel . They ended up dumping the fuel around 10 miles west of Martha's Vineyard.
I had never thought about how a plane landing early would need to dump fuel because of the weight. That it was 20 tons of fuel blew me away (I think I'm just ignorant of how much fuel a Boeing 747 eats up); and I had to know the cost.
I looked it up, and according to Reuters , jet fuel prices for Northwest Europe "were at $878 per metric ton" as of November 2. So, that's a little over $17,500 of fuel.
The pilot did request that a veterinarian be present at the plane's landing in New York, but there's no indication that the horse was injured. Currently the airline, Air Atlanta Icelandic, has not responded to a BuzzFeed request for comment.
There were some pretty punny tweets about the situation:
FLIGHT ATTENDANT: Have you seen a horse on this plane? It's gotten loose. LOOSE HORSE (in disguise): Neigh. Uh, I mean, no. No. https://t.co/c0mPfnUQxc — Mike Beauvais (@MikeBeauvais) November 15, 2023
Too much horsing around leaving this staff saddled with responsibilities for cleanup, I'm afraid https://t.co/BEwVloIYxS — Super Chief (@TheMSeries1) November 15, 2023
night-mare https://t.co/zOkIZrMvD4 — Ryanair (@Ryanair) November 15, 2023
They were worried the plane wouldn’t be… stable https://t.co/mqNJPmdgNJ — Avios Adventurer ✈️ (@aviosAdventurer) November 15, 2023
So you're saying that a horse sent them off course, of course https://t.co/OHNwwD8GU7 — listen to "Scotty Says" on spotify (@thomdunn) November 15, 2023
...And now, we need to debrief. Logically, I know that horses who travel internationally travel on airplanes. It's just that for some reason, I still imagined them traveling by...ship? Maybe that's just me. I guess this is, like, a more modern twist on a Black Stallion situation.
But I have so many more questions than have currently been answered. WHOSE HORSE IS THIS? Despite my best journalistic efforts, I have been unable to find out.
I feel like this story is missing some key points. Number one: What exactly went down with this horse on this plane? And how is it doing? Number two: Were there any other horses aboard the aircraft? Number three: Yes, I know that horses travel on planes. But I want to know why this horse happened to be going to Belgium. Who is this diva?
Let me know your thoughts. Or, better, if you know this horse, let me know the details!
Share this article.
Plane forced to return to airport after horse escapes on board
A pilot says the horse "managed to escape its stall" on the Boeing 747, in an audio recording of his exchange with air traffic control.
Wednesday 15 November 2023 12:54, UK
A plane was forced to return to an airport shortly after taking off when a horse got loose on board.
Around half an hour after leaving New York on its way to Belgium, the Boeing 747 cargo plane contacted air traffic control to inform them of the escaped animal.
"Yes sir, we are a cargo plane," a pilot can be heard saying in an air traffic control recording obtained by Live ATC .
"We have a live animal, a horse, on board the aeroplane and the horse managed to escape its stall. We don't have a problem as of flying-wise, but we need to return to New York.
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"We cannot get the horse back secure."
FlightRadar24 data showed the plane had climbed to 31,000ft before being forced to make a U-turn off the coast of Boston.
The audio showed it then dumped around 20 tonnes of fuel over the Atlantic, to ensure the aircraft was not above the safe weight limit for landing.
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The pilot can then be heard asking air traffic control to request a vet is present when the flight lands at New York's JFK airport.
'We have a horse in... difficulty'
Upon landing, a control tower worker asked the pilot if they required assistance.
"On the ground, negative, on the ramp, yes," he replied.
"We have a horse in... difficulty."
The operator of the 9 November flight, Air Atlanta Icelandic, has been contacted for comment.
Plane Forced To Return To New York After Horse On Board Escapes From Crate
Posted: November 15, 2023 | Last updated: November 15, 2023
A cargo plane on its way to Belgium abruptly had to turn back around to New York City after a horse got loose from its crate on board.
The Boeing 747 operated by charter airline Air Atlanta Icelandic was in the air for less than 30 minutes on Thursday when it was forced to return to JFK Airport, according to local news station WABC-TV .
The plane had flown up to around 31,000 feet when the crew contacted air traffic control to report that the horse had escaped from its stall and couldn’t be contained.
“We are a cargo plane with a live animal, a horse, on board,” the pilot said , according to air traffic control audio. “The horse has broken out of its stall. There’s no issue with flying, but we need to go back to New York as we can’t re-secure the horse.”
The pilot, who was headed to Liege Airport, went on to request a vet for the animal upon the plane’s return to JFK because “we have a horse in difficulty.”
The unidentified pilot didn’t specify whether the animal had sustained any injuries during the wild incident.
The crew also had to dump 20 tons of fuel “10 miles west of Martha’s Vineyard,” on its way back to the airport, due to the plane’s weight.
Reps for Air Atlanta Icelandic didn’t immediately respond to HuffPost for comment.
It’s unclear how the horse was able to break loose from its cage. It remained unrestrained until the plane landed at JFK, according to the audio.
A similar incident happened in August when a bear on an Iraqi aircraft managed to escape from a crate in the cargo hold, leaving passengers fuming over the flight delay.
An Iraqi Airways official told The Associated Press that the furry animal was being transported to the Iraqi capital during the time. The bear was eventually sedated and taken off the plane by specialists, the airline said.
- Flight Delayed After Bear Escapes From Crate In Cargo Hold
- Rescued 200-Pound Baby Walrus Prescribed 'Round The Clock Cuddling'
- Delta Air Lines Lost A Passenger’s Dog. She Was Finally Found 3 Weeks Later.
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US Dept. of Transportation Rules Airlines Must Allow Miniature Horses to Fly as Service Animals
Fly, fly, Little Sebastian.
For all its indignities, air travel is also surprisingly democratic—people of all stripes and shades crammed together into a small metal tube and lofted into the sky. Some of them have service animals, some of which are a hair more exotic than a vested dog. This has caused spirited debates. But on Thursday, the U.S. Department of Transportation issued its final guidance on the subject and added miniature horses to the list of service animals that can fly in any cabin.
You may have some questions. Yes, miniature horses make great—if rare—service animals for those with emotional and physical disabilities. Standing 2-3 feet tall, weighing around 100 pounds, and often living 35 years or longer, they're not unlike large dogs in their comforting presence and ability to perform complex tasks. And yes, airlines have historically balked at the idea of seating a horse in Economy Plus. The DoT's statement notes that air carriers "have asked us to declare that a wide variety of species (e.g., birds...and animals with hooves or horns) constitute 'unusual service animals' that may be categorically banned."
But with trained miniature horses officially recognized in the Americans with Disabilities Act as legitimate service animals, the agency has decided they must be able to fly. The declaration isn't a law per se, but it indicates that they'll punish U.S. airlines that violate it.
"In this Final Statement, after reviewing the comments on this issue, we believe that it would be in the public interest and within our discretionary authority to prioritize ensuring that the most commonly recognized service animals (i.e., dogs, cats, and miniature horses) are accepted for transport," the document reads.
So anyone with a service miniature horse and the need to fly across the country will no longer have to say bye, bye to Little Sebastian at a TSA checkpoint. The Department does note that airlines are still allowed to reject certain approved animals if they're deemed too large, too dirty, or too dangerous. But do airlines really want the PR headache of a hundred smartphone videos showing a flight attendant boot a little horse off a plane?
Undoubtedly, some of you reading this aren't exactly thrilled about sharing your next flight with a barnyard animal. You should also know that the guidance only allows airlines to specifically ban snakes, reptiles, ferrets, rodents, and spiders from the cabin. Anything else presented as a service animal must be considered on a case-by-case basis, though it acknowledges that documented complaints about that particular species from other fliers is grounds for refusal. We wonder where that leaves peacocks.
The rise in news stories like that peacock incident isn't random chance— according to the New York Times, the number of service animals on U.S. air carriers has increased year-over-year this decade, in particular jumping from 481,000 in 2016 to 751,000 in 2017. A few airlines have gotten ahead of the DoT by opening their cabins up to miniature horses in the last year or so—Southwest, Alaska, American, and United all previously stated that equanimous equines are OK to fly. Now the sky is literally the limit.
The declaration contains other important rules for service animals. You can bring up to three critters on a flight, but only one of them can act as an emotional support animal—the other two must be physically necessary. Airlines are allowed to require advance notice for emotional support animals, not physical service ones. Complicating both of those rules is the fact that airlines are still forbidden from demanding proof of an animal's training or certification outright, though there's a loophole for carriers who say they're conducting a "threat analysis."
The animals also don't have to be restrained in any specific way in the cabin as long as their movements don't inconvenience other passengers, though there's a lot of "case-by-case" logic sprinkled throughout the rulings. But bottom line, don't be shocked if you see a tiny horse strolling down the aisle in the not-too-distant future. Don't fret, though—they're still required to be housebroken.
Holiday travelers can expect cheaper flights, packed hotels and lots of boomers
This year’s post-pandemic travel boom is continuing into the holidays.
Nearly half (48%) of Americans plan to travel between Thanksgiving and mid-January, up from 31% last winter, a recent Deloitte survey found. AAA expects 55.4 million travelers to venture at least 50 miles from home during the Thanksgiving period alone, a 2.3% increase from last year.
That means if you’re hitting the roads or the slopes this season, you’ll have lots of company. Here’s what to expect as you pack your bags for a winter getaway or to visit loved ones.
More affordable airfare
Airline ticket prices are falling even as more Americans intend to fly.
Deloitte found 33% of holiday travelers plan to take a domestic flight, up from 29% last year. Despite the strong demand, airfares were more than 13% cheaper last month than at same time a year ago, federal inflation data shows.
Domestic tickets are expected to be noticeably cheaper this season. Round-trip flights within the United States are set to average $268 during Thanksgiving (an annual decline of 14%) and $400 around Christmas (down 12%), according to the booking platform Hopper .
It’s more of a mixed picture for foreign getaways, for which Deloitte foresees softer demand.
Hopper expects international airfares to ease over the Thanksgiving holiday versus last year, but popular destinations in Mexico and the Caribbean are set to stay 5% to 11% higher than before the pandemic. And global flights around Christmastime are generally expected to stay elevated, according to Hopper, “with fares to all destinations outside the Caribbean and Oceania higher than 2019 and 2022 prices.”
(Hopefully) smoother-running airports
Airlines and aviation officials sound confident about handling the holiday crush. While major U.S. carriers — including American , Delta and United — expect record passenger numbers this Thanksgiving, many are touting their readiness for the season.
“We are now so much better prepared for these extreme weather events,” Southwest’s chief operating officer, Andrew Watterson, told investors on a recent earnings call, referring to the carrier’s holiday meltdown last December.
American Airlines is reassuring customers that it “has been running the most reliable operation of any U.S. network carrier for the past 14 months.” And United unveiled a new boarding process last month that it says should speed up the process.
The entire industry was snakebit from last year’s debacle, and airlines have adjusted their operations accordingly.
SCott Keyes, Founder of Going
Track records for flight cancellations and missing luggage have improved ahead of the holidays. About 1.7% of flights were canceled during the first eight months of this year, much better than the 3.0% rate for the same eight-month period last year and 2.3% in the comparable stretch of 2019, the Department of Transportation reported. And in August, the latest month with available data, the mishandled baggage rate dropped to 0.61% from 0.75% the month before.
A broader push to streamline and automate operations “will continue to help curb mishandling as we approach the holiday season,” said Nicole Hogg, head of baggage for SITA, an air transport IT company. But travel experts still suggest adding an AirTag or other digital tracking device to your luggage, especially during busy travel periods.
“Mother Nature will cause some number of cancellations, guaranteed,” said Scott Keyes, the founder of the airfare tracking site Going. But he noted that “cancellations caused by the airlines — the most galling for travelers — are at multiyear lows” and added that many carriers have bulked up on pilots, planes and staff.
“The entire industry was snakebit from last year’s debacle,” Keyes said, “and airlines have adjusted their operations accordingly.”
Pricier hotel rooms
More holiday travelers are set to book rooms than exclusively bunk with friends or family this year. Deloitte found 56% plan to stay in hotels, a sharp jump from 35% in 2022.
That could push up room rates, which were already 0.8% pricier in October than the year before . Jan Freitag, director of hospitality analytics at the commercial real-estate research company CoStar, said this season’s strong travel numbers will likely nudge Christmastime room rates above last year’s levels. In the first full week of November, they were up 4% in the U.S. from the same week a year ago, averaging $156 per night, CoStar said.
Price-conscious Christmas travelers might want to “book early to lock in lower rates, shorten their trips or trade down to a different class of service,” said Freitag, or else take their chances with last-minute reservations. Inventories will be slimmer in the eleventh hour, but hotels may still cut prices on unsold rooms.
More middle-aged and older seatmates
Baby boomers, who represented just 21% of those traveling during the holidays in 2022, are expected to make up 29% of travelers this year, Deloitte projects.
“Last year, older Americans were more likely to cite potential travel disruption and health as reasons to avoid travel,” said Steve Rogers, managing director of Deloitte’s Consumer Industry Center. “But this year, inflation, health and travel disruption concerns may have eased, and boomers are making up for lost trips.”
Inflation, health and travel disruption concerns may have eased, and boomers are making up for lost trips.
Steve Rogers, manager director of Deloitte’s Consumer Industry Center
Gen X travelers will also comprise a greater share of holiday travelers, Deloitte said, growing from 26% last year to an expected 29% this season. Millennial and Gen Z travelers, by contrast, are expected to fall back a bit — with millennials going from 36% of holiday travelers last year to 31% this year, and Gen Zers from 14% to just 8%.
How much each age group shells out over the holidays remains to be seen. The market research firm Future Partners found in a survey last month that boomers tend to have bigger full-year travel budgets — of around $4,408, above the $3,785 national average. However, PwC expects older travelers to trim their holiday travel spending by 22% since last year, partly so they can take more trips throughout the year.
“On the flip side,” said Jonathan Kletzel, PwC’s airline and travel practice leader, “Gen Z is making the biggest increase in their [holiday] travel spending, landing around 23% higher than last year.”
Growing reasons to tap loyalty points
This year 75% of holiday travelers plan to use credit cards to cover at least part of their expenses, according to a recent NerdWallet/Harris Poll survey, even though about 8% of those who charged holiday travel costs last year are still paying them off.
Americans have piled on credit card debt this year even as rates have surged. But stiffer interest fees appear to be making some holiday travelers a bit more cautious than last year, when 85% put at least some holiday travel costs on plastic, NerdWallet found.
“One way travelers are finding balance between the experiences they want and an increase in costs is through points and customer loyalty programs,” said Kletzel.
A Morning Consul report this month backed that up, showing across-the-board jumps in consumers planning to use rewards for bookings at hotels, travel companies and airlines this season. The share of those making points-based travel reservations through credit card programs rose 13% this Thanksgiving from last year and 9% for the winter holidays.
“A lot of people are sitting on more credit card rewards and/or hotel points than they realize, and about a quarter didn’t redeem any over the past year,” said Ted Rossman, a senior industry analyst at Bankrate. And because travel points typically don’t gain value once netted, he said, “it makes sense to earn and burn rewards strategically.”
Harriet Baskas is an NBC News contributor who writes about travel and the arts.