When Mikhail Galin brought his cat Viktor with him on a flight from Riga to Vladivostok with a stopover in Moscow, everything was going just fine at first.
But as the second half of their journey began, a big problem arose.
An Aeroflot employee at Moscow’s Sheremetyevo Airport checked and weighed Galin’s luggage, as well as his cat. When Viktor was put on the scales, however, he weighed in at 10 kilograms — two kilograms above Aeroflot’s weight limit for pets traveling in the cabin.
Galin’s attempts to convince the Aeroflot staffer to let Viktor onto the plane were futile.
“For all my attempts to explain that the cat won’t make it alive for eight hours in the cargo hold and will have nightmares for the rest of his life, she maintained that she had rules to follow and wouldn't take responsibility for 2 extra kilograms of Viktor in the cabin,” Galin wrote on his Facebook page.
Galin didn’t give up there, however. With the help of his friends, he began to search for a mini version of Viktor — with the same coat pattern but with slightly less tummy pooch — to weigh it at the airport in Viktor’s place.
The next day, Galin returned to the airport with a small cat named Phoebe, who passed the weight limit test.
With the check-in process complete, he gave Phoebe back to her owners, brought Viktor onto the plane and flew off with his feline friend into the sunset toward their home city of Vladivostok — in business class, naturally.
As one of Galin’s friends told him: “Bros should be around bros, not in the luggage."
Update: Rule-breakers will be punished. Aeroflot has removed Galin from its frequent-flyer program and canceled his accumulated miles for violating its animal transport rules, the Moskva News Agency reported Tuesday. In addition to bringing an overweight cat on board, Galin violated Aeroflot's pet policy by taking Viktor out of his carrier while onboard the plane, the airline said.