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United bans ‘emotional support peacock’ from flight

February 2, 2018 Headline News No Comments Email Email

The peculiar American custom of allowing pets and livestock to fly with passengers to provide “emotional support” struck a recent snag when a dog attacked a passenger – but that hasn’t stopped a traveller trying to take an enormous peacock aboard a flight, as a video clearly shows.

For more about Delta and the savage dog, see here: Man attacked by dog on flight ‘couldn’t escape’

US airlines are obliged by law to carry legitimate support animals and fines for refusing one can run as high as USD 150,000. Spiders, scorpions and reptiles were outlawed as emotional support animals in 2008, but passengers keep pushing the boundaries.

United Airlines has now courted controversy by turning away an emotional-support animal – a peacock – at Newark Liberty International Airport in New Jersey.

Peacock waits on luggage trolley

United Airlines said the peacock, which the video indicates is very big indeed, “did not meet guidelines for a number of reasons, including its weight and size”.

“We explained this to the customer on three separate occasions before they arrived at the airport,” the airline stated.

A video posted on Facebook showed a woman wheeling luggage with the peacock perched on her shoulder at the airport.

Now we've got video! Check out The #Peacock arriving at #NewarkAirport before it was denied boarding on #United. (This video was sent to us by Sherri Ross!)

Posted by The Jet Set on Tuesday, January 30, 2018

“I’m not kidding this woman is wrangling her peacock into the airport – right now, wrangling a peacock in the airport,” a woman can be heard saying in the background of the video.

Reports in New York say the peacock, named Dexter, belongs to Brooklyn-based artist Ventiko.

While United deals with the peacock issue, Delta has toughened up its emotional support animal regulations after the dog incident, demanding that owners provide documentary evidence, signed by a doctor or licenced mental health professional, verifying that their animals are necessary and will behave.

This has drawn criticism from organisations whose members view carriage of animals as essential – blind travellers, for instance. Websites have sprung up offering easy-to-download documents to help people take animals on flights.

Airlines make money out of animal passengers. NBC reports that American Airlines, Delta Air Lines and United Airlines charge USD 125 each way for conveying pets in the cabin. Alaska Airlines and JetBlue charge USD 100 each way. Southwest charges USD 95 each way and Frontier Airlines charges $75 each way.

Written by Peter Needham

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