Traveler Attacks Airline After 'Emotional-Support' Peacock Is Denied a Free Flight


A traveler’s unique choice of an emotional-support animal was denied boarding by United Airlines ahead of a recent flight out of Newark Liberty International Airport.

As Business Insider reported, the woman attempted to bring her peacock with her under a provision allowing service animals to fly for free.

The presence of the large bird in the airport prompted onlookers to share photos on social media.

When its owner attempted to board her flight, the bird attracted even more attention.
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Reports indicate the airline would not allow the woman to board with her peacock, even after she offered to pay for its seat.

“This animal did not meet guidelines for a number of reasons, including its weight and size,” United said in a statement on the incident.

According to the airline, the passenger was informed of the restrictions “on three separate occasions” before she brought the bird with her to the airport.

Further explaining the airline’s policy, United said it requires “documentation from a medical professional and at least 48 hours’ advance notice” before permitting a passenger to board with a service animal.

Do you think United Airlines should have let the peacock fly for free?

The decision to deny the peacock a spot on the flight was met with a mixed reaction on social media, where many users agreed the large bird should have been turned away.

Newsweek identified the bird’s owner as an artist known as Ventiko, who operates an Instagram for Dexter, the peacock.

The account addressed the recent controversy.

“Spent 6 hours trying to get on my flight to LA,” the post read.

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After insisting that the travelers followed “all required protocol” before attempting to board, “Dexter” revealed the pair would be seeking alternate travel arrangements.

“Tomorrow my human friends are going to drive me cross country!” the post read.

Like in other social media conversations about the failed effort, Ventiko received some support, but the responses to this post were largely critical.

“After following all required protocol… except for COMPLETELY IGNORING BEING TOLD 3 TIMES YOU CAN’T GO ON THE PLANE DUE TO SIZE AND WEIGHT,” one Instagram user wrote. “Moron.”

United is not the only major airline currently dealing with the sensitive subject of when and how employees should deny boarding to potentially disruptive support animals. Delta Airlines announced earlier this month that it would be requiring passengers to meet additional requirements before flying with such animals.

As for the peacock’s westward travels, several posts by the Instagram account indicated it had reached Oklahoma.

Recent posts show Dexter in a playful light and have received far more positive responses, as well as a number of media requests for the suddenly well-known bird.

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Chris Agee is an American journalist with more than 15 years of experience in a wide range of newsrooms.
Chris Agee is an American journalist with more than 15 years of experience in a variety of newsroom settings. After covering crime and other beats for newspapers and radio stations across the U.S., he served as managing editor at Western Journalism until 2017. He has also been a regular guest and guest host on several syndicated radio programs. He lives in Phoenix, Arizona, with his wife and son.
Texas Press Association, Best News Writing - 2012
Bachelor of Arts, Journalism - Averett University
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