Taking a vacation as a pet owner is always a catch 22 situation. On one hand, you can leave them at home with a sitter - never really knowing how they're being looked after. And on the other hand, you can take them with you - but knowing they'll be forced to sit in the uncomfortable and loud holding area of the plane is deeply upsetting.
One man who had this struggle was Mikhail Galin, a Russian gentleman who simply couldn't be without his pet cat Victor.
Now, when most people talk about smuggling and airplanes, they're usually referring to illegal substances. However, in this oddly heartwarming tale, Galin simply wanted to be with his pet cat.Cats can be sneaky! This pet owner filmed his feline and caught him turning off his alarm:
Flying with the Russian airline Aeroflot, Galin was told at the check-in desk that Victor was too heavy to fly with him in the cabin, and would have to be sent below deck. The airline has a policy that pets weighing under eight kilograms (17.6 pounds) can sit with their owners in the cabin, but big Vic weighed in at 10kg - nearly five pounds over the cut-off point.
Taking to a Facebook (translated from Russian), Galin explained that Victor wouldn't "survive [being below deck] on an 8-hour flight with the baggage" and that the journey "would haunt her in her nightmares for the rest of her life".
But sadly, the Aeroflot check-in staff wouldn't budge on the policy.
So, Galin decided to miss the flight and come up with a plan to get Victor on the flight - and amazingly, it worked... kinda.
The cunning Galin reached out to friends in order to find "a similar cat of less physical mass", and after a little searching, the devoted cat owner managed to find a "mini-Victor" by the name of Phoebe in Moscow and returned to the airport for another attempt at flying to Vladivostok.
After arriving at check-in, Galin put Phoebe on the scales, and the lighter cat was accepted to fly in the cabin. However, in between the check-in desk and the plane, Galin swapped Pheobe out with Victor, and boarder the plane.
He wrote on Facebook: "The operation to replace the fat cat Viktor with a miniature cat Phoebe was successful -- the scales showed an acceptable norm, and the airline employee kindly issued a boarding pass wishing a happy flight."
However, after writing about his genius plan on the social media site, Aeroflot soon caught wind of Galin's deception.
Following an "official investigation", the airline decided to exclude Galin from its loyalty program and revoked his amassed air miles for "several instances of deliberate violation" of its terms.
Per CNN, Aeroflot confirmed this in a statement, saying: "This information was confirmed by recording from video surveillance cameras -- during the pre-flight inspection procedure, the passenger took out a large-sized cat that looks like a photograph of the cat he posted."
In a follow-up post, Galin accepts that he was in the wrong, but that he feels policies on airlines need to change: "I broke the rules [...] in this situation, regardless of motivation. The rules are created to follow them, not to break, and under every rule there is a basis. [...]"
He continued: "In our country, service services (regardless of the direction of the industry) are often focused on finding inconsistencies, not solutions. It would be very nice if the situation began to change."Related - I'd much rather be sat next to a cat on an airplane than this passenger. Gross: