A woman flying out of Newark Liberty International Airport was denied the ability to board a United Airlines flight with her emotional support peacock. The unidentified passenger had claimed she purchased a separate ticket for her feathered friend, but the airline denied her request to bring the animal onboard the aircraft.
As reported by Fox News, a spokesperson for United Airlines stated that the passengers traveling with the peacock were informed the bird would not be allowed on the plane.
“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 the airline in a statement.
Images of the bizarre seen were also captured by others in the airport, and quickly made their way onto social media.
Some Facebook users were supportive of the airline’s decision, including one that stated, “Unbelievable, this has to stop now!!”
A person claiming to be an airline employee saw it differently, saying, “I’ll take the majestic peacock over the 5+ dogs that have attacked my coworkers just this past holiday season.”
News of the incident comes shortly after Delta Airlines stated that the company was changing its policies regarding emotional support and service animals on their aircraft. Updated restrictions were announced by Delta on January 19, with the hopes of preventing passengers from abusing the policy and lessening the number of incidents related to the animals, including behavior such as biting, urinating, and defecating on the planes.
Delta’s new policies take effect on March 1, requiring those flying with emotional support animals to submit a variety of information in advance, including a health form from a veterinarian and immunization records. Proof of animal training will also be required before boarding, along with the aforementioned documents and a doctor’s note.
The airline will also no longer allow exotic pets, such as ferrets, insects, or goats, from being able to board as emotional support animals.
United has stated that they are reevaluating their current 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,” the airline stated.
“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.”