A Russian cat owner detailed in his Facebook post the spy movie-style tricks and sneaky (but successful) tactics in a Facebook post after his beloved (and well-fed) pet was deemed too fat to go on board a plane.
The op involved a network of conspirators, social media and an actual cat ‘body double’, and was described in details in a Facebook post when the man and his cat Viktor were safe and soundly on the ground.
The inseparable human-feline duo were set to fly from Riga to Vladivostok, with a stopover in Moscow. The first leg of the trip was fairly uneventful, save for a bit of plane sickness on Viktor’s part, which left his owner “covering his ears and wiping drool” from the pet’s face for the duration.
It was at Moscow’s Շերեմետևո օդանավակայանում where things started to look really bleak, however. The man was unlucky enough to encounter “the most responsible employee at the airport” who insisted on weighing and checking his baggage with a tape measure – and of course, weighing Viktor in his carrier bag.
The cat, which weighs 10 kilos, turned out to be 2kg overweight by the airline’s new limits, published in February. The passenger was informed that he would not be permitted in the cabin unless the cat is stowed in the baggage compartment – news unlikely to be received well by any worried pet lover.
Despite feeble attempts to explain that the scaredy cat could not survive eight hours in the luggage compartment and even a threat that his terrible end “would be the stuff of nightmares for the rest of your life,” airport staff would not budge.
Unwilling to subject Viktor to such horror, the man returned his ticket, skipped his flight and set the cunning plan in motion. He used his airline miles to book a business class flight for the next day – and with the help of friends, he managed to find a suitable ‘cat double’ to pose as a more svelte-looking ‘Viktor’ named Phoebe.
Back in the airport the next day, Phoebe was presented to airport staff and passed the weight test with flying colors, before being quickly swapped with Viktor – and the two were on their way.
Judging by the comments on man’s Facebook post, most people are certainly on his side and not averse to a bit of rule-breaking when a beloved four-legged companion is involved.
“What resourcefulness! You are also lucky that the employee did not check the gender of mini-Viktor,” one commented wrote. “Hero of the day!” said another.
Some were, however, worried that man’s very public explanation of his underhanded tactics might ruin it for the next person who tried this “lifehack,” suggesting airlines might introduce a policy of second weighing at security check, or even demand that the animals be microchipped before allowing them to fly.