If you are an “emotional support animal” that accompanies your owner on airline flights, your traveling days might be cut short in the future.
First, Delta Air Lines recently announced it will crack down on passengers who want to bring service or emotional support animals on its flights. The carrier now requires documentation that shows the critter is current on its shots, and that it will behave on the aircraft (mostly by not attacking other passengers or pooping in the aisle).
And now United Airlines is drawing media attention for telling a female passenger that she could not bring her emotional support animal onto a flight out of Newark – even though the passenger said she actually purchased a separate ticket for her companion.
Oh, did we mention the animal in question was a peacock?
In case you’ve never been close to a peacock, they are really big for a bird, and they have incredibly long tails and unusually loud calls.
So what was the problem? “This animal did not meet guidelines for a number of reasons, including its weight and size,” a United spokesperson said. “We explained this to the customer on three separate occasions before they arrived at the airport.”
The United official added that the airline has nothing against emotional support animals per se – “we know that some customers require an emotional support animal to assist them through their journey” – but there are limits.
And there are rules: United requires customers to provide “documentation from a medical professional” if they need a furry or feathered friend, and at least 48 hours advance notice of their plans.
“We are reviewing our existing policy and plan to share more soon,” the spokesperson said, which means that a Delta-like crackdown is in the wings.
In announcing its new policy, Delta noted that some passengers’ emotional support animals were creatures like turkeys, gliding possums, snakes and spiders.
Delta issued its crackdown after a passenger’s 70-pound support dog bit another customer in the face.
Photos of the big blue bird were first shared on the Facebook page of The Jet Set TV Show.
So is enough enough? What are your thoughts on emotional support animals?