A Russian airline on Tuesday stripped a passenger of his miles for sneaking his overweight cat on board by swapping him with a skinny kitty during check-in.
Mikhail Galin boasted on Facebook about pulling off the switcheroo last week, writing that: “The operation to switch Viktor the fat cat for Phoebe the miniature kitty was successful,” Agence France-Presse reported.
Galin was on a layover in Moscow from Latvia when his 22-pound cat Viktor was deemed too fat to fly in the cabin.
Unable to bear allowing his feline friend to ride the eight hours home to Vladivostok alone in the luggage hold, he took a “strategic decision to find a similar cat of a lower weight.”
“Friends from Moscow, who has a cat of a similar color, help!!!” he posted.
The next day, Galin returned to the airport with “the cat, the cat double and its owners,” and was able to check-in to business class.
He posted a photo of his chubby kitty contently sitting on the plane in his carrier and eyeing a glass of champagne. The post went viral, racking up more than 2,800 shares.
But Aeroflot didn’t appreciate the cat caper.
It conducted a probe which found that Galin broke airline rules by switching Viktor for “a similar animal weighing [15 pounds].”
The stunt was caught on surveillance camera.
As punishment, the airline pulled Galin from its frequent flyer program and revoked his miles, which some outlets put at nearly 400,000.
The decision left Russian cat fans hissing.
Some called it fat-shaming and others attempted to start a protest, AFP reported.
“Offending a kitty! Nobody will forgive this,” Russian socialite Bozhena Rynska wrote on social media.
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