United Airlines recently shot down a traveler’s request to bring her emotional support peacock on a flight departing Newark Liberty International Airport. The woman claimed to have a ticket for the bird, and the airline still denied her peacock a seat on the plane.
According to Fox News, a spokesperson for United Airlines said that the traveler(s) with the peacock were told they would not be able to bring the bird on board. “This animal did not meet guidelines for a number of reasons, including its weight and size. We explained this to the customers on three separate occasions before they arrived at the airport,” said United in a statement.
Photos of the unusual incident were shared on the social media giant Facebook by the travel talk show The Jet Set. The photos set off online commenters, who both condemned and championed United’s decision.
The news comes on heels of Delta’s controversial crackdown on emotional support and service animals on flights. On January 19, the airline announced forthcoming restrictions in hopes of curbing an abuse of policy and an 84 percent increase in ill animal behavior onboard. The behaviors that many complained about weren’t small either. They included urinating, defecating, biting, and attacking people on flights.
As of March, Delta will not allow exotic emotional support animals including ferrets, insects, spiders, goats, or animals with tusks or hooves to fly. United Airlines did confirm with Fox News that they are reevaluating their emotional support animal policies as well, thanks in part to this peacock incident.
“United is dedicated to providing convenient and comfortable service to all of our customers. We know that some customers require an emotional support animal to assist them through their journey. In order to ensure we provide the best service to everyone onboard our flights, consistent with government rules we currently require these customers to provide documentation from a medical professional and at least 48 hours advance notice.
In our effort to better balance protecting our employees and customers while accommodating passengers with disabilities, we are reviewing our existing policy and plan to share more soon.” -United Airlines via email to Fox News.
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