A miniature service horse had plenty of legroom on his first flight after his handler opted for first-class tickets. Ronica Froese has been training her mini-service horse Fred for months to prepare for the trip from Grand Rapids, Michigan, to California.
Froese didn't book a direct flight and had to fly from Grand Rapids to Dallas, where they boarded another plane to Ontario, California.
"I purchased two first-class seats in bulkhead seating, I paid an arm and a leg for tickets, but I did so because it was Fred's first time and I wanted him to be comfortable, I wanted him to have the most room," Froese told WXMI.
Fred wore a baby-blue onesie, along with a bag that identified him as a service animal. Fred seemed to enjoy his first time flying. Froese said there were no issues during the trip and that while other passengers stopped and stared at the sight of a horse in first-class, everybody loved Fred.
"Everyone was sweet as pie, TSA was amazing. The experience was way better than I actually anticipated," Froese said.
Under the current law, miniature horses are considered service animals and are granted the same protections as service dogs under the American with Disabilities Act. That could change, as the Department of Transportation is looking to crack down on people abusing the system, which has created a major headache for airlines.
"It is out of control, it's a very abused process, there are a lot of untrained service animals on the plane that are not trained," Froese said. "It's definitely an abused system, but the sad part is what the DOT is looking at doing, they are looking at excluding me as a handler from taking my horse on the plane."