Peacocks, Pigs and Kangaroos? Oh My!
An “emotional support peacock” that was barred from a United flight made national headlines this week. A woman tried to board a flight from Newark to LA with the bird in tow. She even offered to buy her feathered friend his own ticket! But alas, Dexter (the peacock’s name) was not allowed on board because the airline said he did not meet weight and size guidelines.
Dexter and his owner, Brooklyn-based artist Ventiko, had to drive cross-country instead of taking the flight. The beautiful peacock was rescued from his sad life in someone’s garage and he is beloved by the artist, who documents his life on social media.
So what is going on? Is United prejudiced against peacocks? What about other emotional support animals? Are passengers going too far by requesting to fly with animals that would only be considered emotional support animals in some other bizarre parallel universe?
4.) If Pigs Could Fly
Airlines have been allowing emotionally troubled passengers to take therapy animals with them on board flights for years, but the large increase in the number of animals on planes has airlines wondering if people are abusing the privilege. The only real documentation that is needed to bring a pet on a flight is a note from a physician saying it is medically necessary for the emotional well-being of the passenger. It is then up to the airline’s discretion if Harvey the Hamster will be allowed to fly. Some passengers say that the airlines are not being discriminating enough.
Imagine sitting in a plane and hearing a squeal and then catching a whiff of something that smells like a barnyard. That’s what happened in November 2014 at Bradley International Airport in Connecticut when a woman was removed from a US Airways flight along with her emotional support pig, Hobie. Hobie apparently got spooked right before the flight took off and, after letting out a loud squeal, defecated to the disgust of everyone on the aircraft. A spokeswoman for US Airways parent American Airlines, Laura Masvidal, told reporters that the pig was ordered off the plane because it had become ‘disruptive.’ We posted a story from 2016 by Inside Edition as proof.
Poor little piggy … but what IS that smell?
3.) Turkey Flies Back Home After the Holidays
In January 2016, a passenger brought a turkey on an aircraft. This was not a turkey you stuff and put into the oven. It was a live bird with wings and feathers and, gasp, no diaper. Delta Airlines allowed the bird to fly because he was an ESA (emotional support animal). In pictures posted on Reddit, the bird looked angry as he was perched in a Comfort+ seat.
As someone snapped his photo, it looked as if the bird was thinking, can’t somebody get rid of these paparazzi? So annoying.
The Department of Transportation doesn’t have specific rules about what kinds of animals qualify to fly. The Air Carrier Access Act states that airlines are not required to accommodate unusual service animals like rodents, spiders or snakes. (Snakes on a Plane, the movie! Sorry, I can’t help myself). Delta has a set of rules that bans snakes, hedgehogs, ferrets, insects and sugar gliders. Delta also says it does not allow animals that emit a foul odor. Um, good to know (thumbs up).
2.) Daniel Turducken Stinkerbutt Takes To The Skies
— Mark Essig (@mark_essig) October 16, 2016
That is the name of Carla Fitzgerald’s emotional support Indian Runner duck that became internet-famous in 2016, after taking a flight from Charlotte to Asheville. (His owner was with him. Keep up).
After an accident in 2013, Fitzgerald told the Washington Post that the duck “would notice something wrong, whether it be my pain or my PTSD. He would come and lay on me and [give me] lots of hugging and lots of kisses. And if he notices that I’m going to have a panic attack, he would give me a cue to lay down by trying to climb me.”
The troubled woman was delighted to have Daniel accompany her on her short flight.
1.) A KANGAROO…The Weirdest Among the Weird
When my mom has a kangaroo on her flight as an “emotional support animal” … pic.twitter.com/VdcmDahsPp
— Dev (@DevinnZeller) March 26, 2015
The weirdest animal to be brought on board is probably …. drum roll, please! A kangaroo!
A few passengers have taken a giant kangaroo onboard as their ESA. They might be cute, but I’ve also seen them get pretty feisty.
Emotional Support Animal Policies Are Under Review…And We’re Glad
Many airlines are re-thinking their policies. Passengers are increasingly being accused of pushing the limits. There have been many reports of flights returning to the gate because ESAs became disruptive. Delta has already tightened the rules about flying with an emotional support dog after a passenger was nearly bitten.
But owners of the cute and cuddly animals say they cannot be without them. So, what is a pet owner to do? Maybe get Fido a relaxing cocktail in the frequent flyer’s lounge before the plane takes off so he will stay calm. Just sayin’ …. (tail wag).