United Airlines has denied boarding to a peacock.
This much we know, thanks to a statement from United Airlines and a travel show called the Jet Set.
But whether this was a bona fide attempt by a traveler who thought it would be okay to fly with a huge bird (inside an aircraft), let alone a species which, even according to its staunchest admirers, is a foul-tempered fowl, or whether this was a put-on, wasn’t immediately clear. It wasn’t so long ago that a writer for the New Yorker performed a stunt with several animals as a way of demonstrating the ridiculous extremes we’ve come to when it comes to accommodating support animals.
But the fact that this appears to be a legitimate attempt by an ordinary traveler to take her alleged service animal onto a commercial flight points up why the time has come for airlines to tighten the rules. It’s become impossible to tell the difference between outlandish stunts and people’s support animals.
In a statement, United said the airline denied boarding to the passenger and the animal because the peacock failed to meet several guidelines, including those on weight and size. The airline also suggested that the passenger wouldn’t take no for an answer: “We explained this to the customer on three separate occasion before they arrived at the airport.”
The airline also noted that passengers are required to provide proper documentation from a medical professional at least 48 hours in advance of boarding that specifies the passenger’s need for an animal.
(c) 2018, The Washington Post · Fredrick Kunkle