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One of Russia's leading air carriers recently sold a ticket
One of Russia's leading air carriers recently sold a ticket to a cat for three times the price it charged its owners, the Zapolyarniy Vestnik paper reported on Wednesday.

The owners of Zhora the cat told the paper that they had bought tickets with the S7 airline from the city of Zheleznogorsk, where they had been visiting relatives, to their hometown of Norilsk, in north Siberia.

"We told the sales assistant that we would be travelling with our cat," one of Zhora's owners, Svetlana Yefimova, told the paper, "and that she should indicate this on our ticket."

"'Don't worry', she told us, 'you don't need anything except a certificate from the vet,'" Yefimova went on, adding that she had often taken her cat with her on plane journeys.

Svetlana and her husband, Alexander, duly purchased their special offer tickets home for 4915 rubles a head ($183).

However, on the day of the flight, an S7 member of staff informed the couple that their beloved Zhora would have to go in the hold.

"If you don't like it, fly with another company," the S7 employee reportedly said.

A nearby passenger then told the couple how he had recently put his dog in the hold of an S7 plane only for the hound to fall ill.

The couple, who were unable to get a refund on their cut-price tickets, refused to condemn Zhora to a journey in the hold.

"Buy another ticket - for your cat" suggested the S7 staff member.

The couple, fearful for the fate of their feline friend, agreed. The ticket cost 16,315 rubles. More than three times the sum they had paid for their own tickets.

After some consideration on behalf of the cashier, the ticket was made out to "Yefimov - Cat"

Zhora was then given a separate seat in the plane. However, according to its owners, he did not eat or drink for the entire journey.

Upon returning to Norilsk, the couple handed over the ticket for "Yefimov - Cat" to the book-keeper at the company they work for (the journey had been paid for by their employer).

However, pointing out that Zhora was not strictly a dependent, the company refused to pay. Their position was backed by an independent lawyer.

"We will never use S7 again," said Svetlana.

The airline defended the actions of its sales assistant in Zheleznogorsk, and referred the couple to the company's rules, which state that the company reserves the right to make decisions on animals not included in the list of "forbidden creatures" as it sees fit.

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