TSA Says No to Snakes on a Plane After Florida Woman Tries to Bring Boa on Board

Airlines made a change in 2021 as to what emotional support animals or pets were allowed on board. Support snakes shockingly didn't make the cut.

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A photo of a large snake with an orange cross over the top.
Snakes are banned from plane cabins and the Jalopnik office.
Photo: Arterra/Universal Images Group (Getty Images)

Emotional support animals have been somewhat controversial as of late, especially when it comes to defining what that support animal is. Typically we think the cuddly route, like a fluffy little dog, a mini horse or maybe even a penguin. But what about a giant snake? What is the limit for an emotional support animal? Well, the TSA deemed large snakes as one of those limits, as one Florida woman tried to get past security with her four-foot “support” boa constrictor in her carry-on bag.

According to CBS News, TSA agents at Tampa International Airport, Florida, caught a woman attempting to bring her pet snake, called Bartholomew, through security. Apparently, the woman claimed that Barty was her emotional support animal.

However, once TSA agents notified the airline of her extra passenger, they “refused to let her have it on the plane.”

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TSA spokesperson Lisa Farbstein shared an x-ray of the slippery passenger on Twitter. It’s the big orange coil in the top right corner that’ll haunt your nightmares this week.

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Before anyone else attempts to take a danger noodle into the air with them, the TSA has been quick to point out that most airlines won’t let you take a motherf***ing snake on a motherf***ing plane. In an Instagram post, the agency explained that no airlines will allow you to take a snake in your carry on bags, no matter how emotionally supportive it can be.

If you insist on traveling with your snake, the TSA added that “few” American carriers will allow you to check your snake into the hold, provided it’s “packaged correctly.”

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A photo of an emotional support dog at an airport.
Good boy.
Photo: Shelly Yang/The Kansas City Star/Tribune News Service (Getty Images)

But if you can’t even have a snake as an emotional support animal in 2023, what can you have? Well, I’ve got bad news, as most U.S. airlines won’t let you take any old emotional support animal onboard anymore.

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That’s all thanks to a ruling that came into force back in 2021 that allowed carriers to turn away emotional support animals on flights. Instead, emotional support animals must now travel as regular pets on planes, which means that only smaller pets that fit into a carrier can come onboard.

There is an exception to this rule for psychiatric service dogs, but unfortunately, not for four-foot snakes.