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Man Almost Gets Away With Sneaking His Opossum on a Plane

This year, airports and airlines worked tirelessly to get passengers home amid snowy, sabotaging Thanksgiving weather, but one little gal was left stranded for reasons beyond the forces of nature -- she was barred from flying for being herself, a pet opossum. 

California man Gerald Tautenhahn didn't mean to stir up trouble when he brought his pet opossum, named Zatara, on a trip home for Thanksgiving. In fact, he'd already flown with her from California to Texas earlier that week after doing the necessary preparations to ensure their travel success.

"We did all of our homework about a month in advance," Tautenhahn told FOX 7 Austin. "I called the Department of Transportation, cleared it with them. Cleared it with JetBlue, they said it was fine." 

But it was not fine, said the tone of voice of the flight crew member who pulled him aside on the plane to offer an ultimatum that is the stuff of marsupial owners' nightmares. 

"They said hey, either you can leave her here or you can stay with her, but she can't fly," Tautenhahn he said. per the report.

Tautenhahn said that he was "frustrated beyond belief" that he'd been able to take her to Texas, only to bar her reentry into her home state. He took to Instagram to air his grievances and suppose Zatara's equally devastated reaction. 

"HE OR SHE IS ABSOLUTELY ADORABLE BEYOND WORDS. PEOPLE ARE SIMPLY CLUELESS AND UNEDUCATED WHEN IT COMES TO THESE AND ALL KINDS OF ANIMALS THAT OWN THIS WORLD," said an account called killerstares69, in response to the post. 

As you can see from the caption, Tautenhahn did not board the plane, and was told after three hours on the phone with JetBlue that he should "rent a car and drive back to California." He chose instead to book another flight a few days later, according to the New York Post, and when he boarded he was in no way confronted by the attendants. 

If you are nervous that the airline rep on the phone is more informed on policy than the attendant holding your fate in their hands, try bringing journalistic evidence that your miniature horse support animal or a similarly line-toeing critter has been allowed on a flight before. If you can't find something promising on the wild web, it's probably not worth it. 

h/tTravel & Leisure

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Ruby Anderson is a News Writer for Thrillist.