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Wilbur the Celebrity Pig

(From Sara Haines, TODAY Production Coordinator)Catering for 20 people = $250Airport transportation for Bon Jovi's band = $500Booking a flight for Wilbur the pig = PRICELESS!!My name is Sara Haines and I am the Production Coordinator.  Although I handle an array of logistics including: plaza concerts, catering, security lists, etc., I spend the majority of each day doing guest travel.  My tale b

(From Sara Haines, TODAY Production Coordinator)

Catering for 20 people = $250

Airport transportation for Bon Jovi's band = $500

Booking a flight for Wilbur the pig = PRICELESS!!

My name is Sara Haines and I am the Production Coordinator.  Although I handle an array of logistics including: plaza concerts, catering, security lists, etc., I spend the majority of each day doing guest travel. 

My tale begins on a Friday afternoon.  As anyone, I was hoping to have a relatively easy day heading into a much-needed weekend.  Things were going swimmingly until right after lunch.  One of our senior producers, Jackie, called me about travel for a guest coming in over the weekend.  She proceeded to tell me that it was for Wilbur the pig.  A smile, foreshadowing what was to come, snuck across my face as I thought about what I was being asked to do.  I was booking travel for Wilbur the pig!  I mean who hasn't read Charlotte's Web?  Wilbur was my absolute favorite!  I love little pigs.  I am from Iowa, so I think we are born with that soft spot, and aside from the fact that they grow up to be full-grown pigs (that smell and roll in the mud), this was a cute, little, fuzzy piglet.

It would be difficult and mundane to give you the play by play as to how this little dilemma (oh yes, that is what it became) unfolded, but I will give you the short version.  Here is some of the dialogue that pretty much sums up the happy (and I use that term loosely) ending to be had by all...well, at least for Wilbur.

Email from Jackie to me:

Lisa [pr for publishing house] is going to call you with all the details.  It seems Delta will allow them to carry the pig on with many stipulations, but I'll let her explain.   Thanks.

Email from me to Jackie:

I just need to know the airport of origination...

Email from Lisa to both of us:

Awesome! Nashville! FYI...the pig will have a health certificate, he weighs between 12-15 lbs., and he is 6 weeks old...Thanks!

Email from me to Jackie:

We are flying the farmer too, yes?  What is his name?

Email from Jackie to me:

No more farmer - sorry I forgot to tell you - it's just the pig and the wife.

Email from me to Jackie:

and the wife will be on air too, yes?

Email from me to the lovely woman at the Airline:

Thank you so much for helping out with this.  I am going to be booking a flight for our guest Melissa Batey and her pig Wilbur.  The pig is 6 weeks old and approximately 12 to 15 lbs (he will be traveling with a health certificate.)  Melissa and Wilbur will be appearing on the Today show on Wednesday, July 5th because he will be on the new cover of "Charlotte's Web."  Per our conversation, we understand that as a celebrity pet, Wilbur will need to have a purchased window seat.  He will also need to have a small cushion to sit on.  We will also inform Ms. Batey that NO ONE else is to touch or to handle Wilbur while he is on the plane.  Please let me know if there is anything else that you need from us on this end.

Email from the lovely woman at the Airline to me:

Sara,

I have authorized celebrity pet Wilbur of Charlottes Web to travel in record locator. Please advise Melissa Batey, she will need current shot records for Wilbur, seat cushion and seat belt extension. Wilbur must be neatly groomed and free of odor. Wilbur will sit at the window seat and should have no contact with any passengers. The final decision for celebrity pet travel must be authorized by the Pilot or Captain.

Kind regards

**** After 3 days of back and forth + 1 change of date ****

Email from Jackie to me:

We've hit another snag - the pig's paperwork has not gone through yet that he needs to get into NY State.  I'll know more after my 10:15 meeting what the plan is but maybe you should push their tickets one more day in case they can get here for Friday's show.  Thanks

**** After 4 days + 2 changes of date ****

Email from Jackie to me:

Sara,

We are doing this as a live remote after all airing Friday morning.  We can go ahead and cancel the tickets.  Thanks for all your help.

Jackie

**** After 5 days + 3 changes of date + a cancelled live spot + an added remote + a squealing Wilbur who couldn't even stay on set...**** WATCH VIDEO