Woman tries to board United flight with peacock as comfort animal
Dogs, cats and even pigs and miniature horses have made it into airline passenger cabins as emotional support animals in recent years.
But one airline has drawn a line in the sand when it comes to peacocks.
A woman who tried to board a United flight from Newark, N.J., recently was turned away after showing up at the airport with her emotional support peacock in tow, reported Live and Let Fly. She had offered to buy a second ticket for the bird, but the airline declined.
“This animal did not meet guidelines for a number of reasons, including its weight and size,” United told Fox News in a statement. “We explained this to the customers on three separate occasions before they arrived at the airport.”
Newsweek identified the passenger as Ventiko, a New York-based performance artist. Her peacock, Dexter, has his own Instagram page, which notes he will now be driven cross-country after being denied by the airline.
The Jet Set, a travel talk show, posted photos of the peacock’s airport visit on Facebook. “Unbelievable, this has to stop now!!” posted Steve Hofmaster in response. Other travelers jokingly said they’d prefer a peacock to emotional support dogs they accused of biting other passengers.
Delta Airlines recently made headlines for tightening its rules on emotional support animals. The airline announced it will check certification papers for purported service or support animals and their owners before allowing them to board, according to Forbes. The new policy takes effect March 1.
In order to qualify, service animals must be trained to provide specific services in support of the owner, Forbes reported. Owners must have signed forms from a veterinarian and a doctor or mental health professional to bring an emotional support animal on board, and must certify the animal has been trained to behave in public.