California man with pet opossum kicked off JetBlue flight

NEWPORT BEACH, California -- A California man was told that he couldn't board a flight with his pet opossum.

Gerald Tautenhahn says two months after his father passed away in Austin, Texas, he wanted to spend time with his mom and cheer her up by bringing Zatara, his pet opossum that he raised from just weeks old.

Gerald says he did his homework and thought he had everything taken care of before traveling, KCBS reports.

"They said if it's okay with airlines, okay with us. Call the airline, they said, it's fine as long as she's in an approved pet carrier," Gerald says.

So Gerald and his twin brother loaded up Zatara and headed to Long Beach Airport after he says he called the airport to double check.

Gerald was cleared to travel with Zatara, and on December 4th he and the opossum went through security with no problem.

The pair flew JetBlue to Austin, and his mom loved her.

A few days later, Gerald says when they tried to fly back to Long Beach, an Air Marshal told him he wasn't sure if it was okay to have an opossum on board.

"And then he said, well, how did you get here? Look, just like this. I flew on the plane," Gerald says.

Gerald was then told he couldn't fly back.

"Well, it was our mistake for letting you on the plane in the first place. But it's your problem. Deal with it," Gerald says.

Gerald says a representative encouraged him to rent a car and drive back to Newport Beach.

"It was just beyond frustrating," Gerald says.

After four days in Austin, Gerald booked a ticket on United, paid a pet fee and put Zatara in a carrier.

This time he wasn't asked what was in the approved carrier and he walked on.

Gerald says next time, if you have an opossum, you might want to just drive.