A woman was barred from boarding an internal US flight this week in the company of her “emotional support peacock.”
Brooklyn-based artist Ventiko attempted to get on a United Airlines aircraft with the bird – named Dexter - for a flight from Newark Airport to Los Angeles on Monday, but was refused because he did not meet company guidelines on size and weight.
Ventiko even offered to buy Dexter his own seat, but the airline was not to be swayed, travel-based talk show The Jet Set revealed.
United Airlines said in a statement to the Associated Press: “This animal did not meet the guidelines for a number of reasons, including its weight and size. We explained this to the customer on three separate occasions before they arrived at the airport.”
Its online guidance prohibits rodents, reptiles, snakes and ferrets in the cabin of aircraft, but says miniature horses, monkeys, cats, dogs and birds are permitted for no charge. It specifies that official documentation from a licensed mental health professional must be submitted when booking an animal on the plane.
Emotional support animals provide comfort and support to people with mental health-related problems, including anxiety and depression. They have a special license which means they are allowed to travel on flights or live in places that don’t usually allow pets.
They are not currently available to people in the UK, though a petition has been submitted to the government.
Dexter, who boasts his own Instagram account, was pictured later that day perched on the handle of his owner’s luggage trolley, alongside the caption: “Spent 6 hours trying to get on my flight to LA. Tomorrow my human friends are going to drive me cross country!”
Better luck next time Dexter!