As the saying goes, “birds of a feather flock together,” but United Airlines recently refused to share its airspace with one traveler’s request to bring her peacock on a flight departing from Newark International Airport. The peacock is understood to be a means of emotional support for the traveler in question.
Earlier this week Live and let Fly reported that the woman who wished to remain unidentified, had purchased a ticket for the peacock, but the airline refused her request.
A spokesperson for the airline later revealed the traveler(s) with the peacock had been informed they would not be able to bring the bird on board the aircraft.
“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.
Images of the very unusual scenes were shared to Facebook by The Jet Set (a travel talk show), which led to quiet the debate with some commenters condemning the airline and others backing there decision.
“Unbelievable, this has to stop now!!” one user wrote.
“I’ll take the majestic peacock over the 5+ dogs that have attacked my coworkers just this past holiday season,” another supposed airline staffer fired back.
The controversial decision by United Airlines comes in the wake of Delta’s crackdown on emotional support and service animals. The airline announce on Jan, 19, they would be introducing new restriction in the hope of curbing an abuse policy and an 84 percent increase in unruly animal behaviour on-board flights, such as biting, defecating, urinating and attacks.
These restrictions came into effect on March 1, with Delta requiring passengers who fly with emotional support or service animals to submit a veterinarian health form and immunization record to Delta with 48-hours notice. They are also required to submit a doctor’s note, signed veterinarian health form and proof of animal training will additionally now have to be presented before boarding.
Delta will not allow exotic emotional support animals such as, insects,ferrets,goats,spiders or animals with tusks or hooves to fly with them.
United Airlines have confirmed that they are reviewing their current support animal policies.
“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,” they said via email.
“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.”
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