'Emotional support' peacock denied seat on United airplane

By Carianne Luter, Leigh Frillici - Reporter

NEWARK, N.J. - It’s a story that has gone viral and a Spring woman caught part of it on video.

Sherri Ross had just landed in Newark airport for a trip to NYC, when she saw a woman with a peacock enter the airport.

"It's like she leaned down, and flipped her hair and it just appeared on her shoulder,” said Ross.

Ross pulled out her phone to catch the peacock balancing on its owner’s shoulder as she strode into the airport.

The woman recently brought a peacock to fly with her on a United Airlines flight, but the peacock was denied access, according to the travel blog Live and Let's Fly.

The blog said even though the unidentified woman claimed that she had a second ticket for the peacock, the airline denied her request at Newark Liberty International Airport.

WATCH: Peacock at the airport

A spokesperson for United said that the traveler(s) with the peacock were told in the lobby they would not be able to bring it on board.

"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. "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. 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."

The peacock has its own Instagram page, @dexterthepeacock. And he took a road trip after being denied a seat on the flight.

Sunday's post read: "Spent 6 hours trying to get on my flight to LA 😀🐣 (after following all required protocol) Tomorrow my human friends are going to drive me cross country! Keep an πŸ‘out for us! 🌈 #bestroadtripbuddy #dexterthepeacock"

 Subsequent posts from Dexter show him making stops in Schubert, Pennsylvania:

And then Indianapolis, Indiana:

 

Stop over in #indianapolis to visit the Grandparents. 🐣❀️

A post shared by Dexter The Peacock (@dexterthepeacock) on

The Gateway to the West, St. Louis:

And Miami, Oklahoma:

According to Dexter's Instagram page, he is a rescued peacock living in Manhattan.

The Department of Transportation's regulations on service animals follows:

What about unusual service animals?

As indicated above, certain unusual service animals, pose unavoidable safety and/or public health concerns and airlines are not required to transport them. Snakes, other reptiles, ferrets, rodents, and spiders certainly fall within this category of animals. The release of such an animal in the aircraft cabin could result in a direct threat to the health or safety of passengers and crewmembers. For these reasons, airlines are not required to transport these 13 types of service animals in the cabin, and carriage in the cargo hold will be in accordance with company policies on the carriage of animals generally.

Other unusual animals such as miniature horses, pigs and monkeys should be evaluated on a case-by-case basis. Factors to consider are the animal's size, weight, state and foreign country restrictions, and whether or not the animal would pose a direct threat to the health or safety of others, or cause a fundamental alteration (significant disruption) in the cabin service. If none of these factors apply, the animal may accompany the passenger in the cabin. In most other situations, the animal should be carried in the cargo hold in accordance with company policy.

There are also several things you could be asked for when taking an emotional support pet on board a plane.

According to the Department of Transportation, the airlines can also request a 48-hour advance notice for emotional support animals. The airlines can also request a letter from a licensed physician stating their patient needs their emotional support animal as an accommodation on the flight.

To learn more, click here.

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