Aldecosea told the Herald that, out of options and with her flight boarding soon, she considered just letting Pebbles free but felt it was more humane to flush the animal than let it run around in the cold, only to get hit by a auto.
But when Aldecosea arrived at the Baltimore airport, Spirit refused to allow the animal board. She didn't have any friends or family close enough to pick up the hamster, wasn't able to rent a auto, and needed to return home to attend to a medical issue.
Spirit denied that one of its employees suggested that she flush the hamster.
Aldecosea says she accepted a later flight on Spirit to figure out what to do with her hamster, and claims she contacted six rental vehicle agencies to try and hire a auto, but says that every single company was out of cars.
She considered letting Pebbles loose outside, but feared that the animal would either freeze to death or be hit by a auto.
In a statement the airline said, "we can say confidently that at no point did any of our agents suggest this Guest (or any other for that matter) should flush or otherwise injure an animal".
"I was scared. It was horrifying trying to put her in the toilet". "It is incredibly disheartening to hear this Guest reportedly made a decision to end her own pet's life".
And, claiming she had no other options, Aldecosea says she did just that. Despite Spirits own guidelines the US Transportation Safety Administration allows carry-on hamsters.
So Aldecosea eventually flushed Pebbles - a support hamster she had gotten after a cancer scare the previous year.
United officials also said that they had warned the woman that the bird would not be allowed to fly. "Our records indicate she was scheduled to take the 10:39 am flight on November 21, but ended up taking the 7:42 pm flight that day". Rodents were not allowed on Spirit flights, a shocked Aldecosea was told - whether travelling with their human companions or in the cargo hold.
However, it is up to individual airlines to decide what animals are allowed on on board its planes. Most major carriers such as American, Delta and United, say no, citing concerns about safety and health.
While guide dogs have been occasional flyers for years, there have recently been a surge of emotional-support animals. On Tuesday's the site's website crashed and customers were unable to book flights.