A female traveller was recently banned from taking a large "emotional-support peacock" on board a United Airlines flight, it has emerged.
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"As a reminder, animals now prohibited from traveling in the cabin include hedgehogs, ferrets, insects, rodents, snakes, spiders, reptiles, sugar gliders, non-household birds, exotic animals and animals not properly cleaned or carry a foul odor", said United.
Emotional support animals typically include dogs and cats and are used by people with some sort of disability, which generally needs to be verifiable. "We explained this to the customer on three separate occasions before she arrived at the airport", United said in a statement to Business Insider.
United's new rules draw a clear distinction between emotional support animals and service animals.
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She offered to pay for a second seat for the oversized bird but claimed she had a right to bring it on board as her emotional support animal. Rather, the airline said it did so because of safety concerns and because company policy prohibits anything "protruding into the aisle". "Delta has seen an 84 percent increase in reported animal incidents since 2016", Delta said, adding that reported incidents included "urination/defecation, biting and even a widely reported attack by a 70-pound dog".
The incident follows Delta Air Lines' announcement that it would impose tighter regulations for passengers who attempt to travel with service or emotional-support animals. "If airlines followed the ADA guidelines for what is legal for a service animal than we would not be in this terrible situation of traveling with fake service animals of all types", Turner wrote in an email.
It says that "certain documentation requirements" must be met and a minimum of 48 hours' notice is given. "Although we know that fake service animals traveling is a nightmare for all involved, including passengers with trained service dogs, the policy of requiring a health certificate 48 hours before traveling is unlawful and not practical".
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