Woman Denied Emotional Support Peacock on United Flight

Stone He - 1B Mechanical
Posted on: February 4, 2018

A woman was denied bringing her emotional support peacock on a United Airlines flight from Newark to Los Angeles.

On Saturday January 27, Ventiko, a Brooklyn photographer and performance artist, was checking in for a flight from Newark, New Jersey to Los Angeles, California. Her emotional support peacock Dexter was denied from boarding the airplane, despite having his own seat and ticket.

According to a statement released by United, Dexter was not allowed to board the flight due to his weight and size. In addition, they have stated that the traveler was told three times on separate occasions that she could not bring her peacock before they arrived at the airport.

However, Ventiko stated that she has every right to bring a support animal on the flight. This is because of the Air Carrier Access Act of 1986, an act that prohibits the discrimination against passengers with disabilities. This also meant that any animal that is trained to assist a person with a disability or provide emotional support can be brought on an airplane.

Through this incident, United Airlines has pushed for more restrictions on what can be brought for flights. Starting from March 1, United Airlines will require passengers to send appropriate documentation within 48 hours of a flight, which includes proof that the animal has been trained properly and the owner will take responsibility of the animal’s actions. In addition, a letter from a medical professional will be required before allowing the animal to board.

Getting the required documentation may not be an easy task. There were also concerns of passengers misusing the ‘support animal’ label, due to airlines having no way of determining whether the letter was written by a medical professional. There have been numerous incidents in the past year where animals were not behaving properly in flight. Some instances included cats urinating on the seats, dogs that blocked the aisle, and ducks that wandered around the cabin.

Delta Airlines has cited that there has been an 84 percent increase of support animals in the airplanes from 2016 to 2017. With more animals in the cabin, it is more likely there could be an incident. In one incident, a man was attacked by a dog that was classified as an emotional support animal. The man ended up with permanent scars on his face.

This may or may not be the case with Dexter the peacock, as he was seen quietly perching on top of a luggage cart while waiting to be boarded.

Fortunately, Dexter was able to get to his owner in Los Angeles through the help of his “human friends”, as stated on his Instagram account.

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