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Posted: February 01, 2018

Peacocks on a plane? Here's Delta's policy

Woman Buys Extra Seat for Emotional Support Peacock but Bird is Banned from Flight

By Kelly Yamanouchi, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

After a passenger attempted to bring an emotional support peacock onto a plane only to be told by United Airlines that the peacock was grounded, you might be wondering what other airlines’ peacock policies are.

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Delta Air Lines is the dominant carrier in Atlanta, and it created an animal-related stir of its own recently by announcing tightened restrictions on emotional support animals.

We looked up Delta’s list of animals not permitted as trained service or support animals, which the airline says it disallows because “these animals pose safety and/or public health concerns.”

The list of prohibited animals includes “non-household birds (farm poultry, waterfowl, game bird & birds of prey).”

Peacocks may not fall under the categories of farm poultry, waterfowl, game birds or birds of prey. But they also may not be typical household birds.

(Hedgehogs, ferrets, insects, rodents, snakes, spiders, sugar gliders, reptiles, amphibians, goats, animals improperly cleaned and/or with a foul odor, and animals with tusks, horns or hooves are also not permitted on Delta as trained service or support animals.)

So we asked Delta about its peacock policy.

“We reserve the right to review each case,” Delta spokeswoman Ashton Kang said. “The list on is intended to provide examples of exotic or unusual animals but is not considered to be a complete and exclusive list.

“Peacocks would fall under the definition of exotic or unusual animals as per 14 CFR 382.117,” she added.

That federal regulation notes that airlines “are never required to accommodate certain unusual service animals (e.g.,snakes, other reptiles, ferrets, rodents, and spiders) as service animals in the cabin.”

Dan Kitwood/Getty Images
File photo. (Photo by Dan Kitwood/Getty Images)

It continues: “With respect to all other animals, including unusual or exotic animals that are presented as service animals (e.g., miniature horses, pigs, monkeys), as a carrier you must determine whether any factors preclude their traveling in the cabin as service animals (e.g., whether the animal is too large or heavy to be accommodated in the cabin, whether the animal would pose a direct threat to the health or safety of others, whether it would cause a significant disruption of cabin service, whether it would be prohibited from entering a foreign country that is the flight’s destination). If no such factors preclude the animal from traveling in the cabin, you must permit it to do so.”

The federal regulation also stipulates that whenever airlines decide not to accept an animal as a service animal, “you must explain the reason for your decision to the passenger and document it in writing. A copy of the explanation must be provided to the passenger either at the airport, or within 10 calendar days of the incident.”


Emotional support peacock banned from United flight, even though it had a seat

Plenty of people need emotional support animals for all kinds of reasons and they are legally allowed to travel with those animals.

>> Read more trending news 

Airlines have allowed dogs, cats, pigs and even miniature horses to accompany owners on planes to various destinations, but United Airlines flat out refused to allow a woman to bring a service bird onto a recent flight.

This wasn’t some small canary in a cage, though. The passenger was trying to bring a large peacock in all its glory onto a flight at Newark Liberty International Airport and had even bought a second seat to accommodate the bird’s massive, colorful plumage, according to the airline blog Live and Let’s Fly earlier this week.

Pictures of the woman and her big bird at the airport popped up on Facebook, and someone even recorded her arrival at the airport.

United told Fox News that the woman knew ahead of time the peacock was not allowed on the flight, but she showed up with the bird anyway.

"This animal did not meet guidelines for a number of reasons, including its weight and size," a United spokesperson said.

"We explained this to the customers on three separate occasions before they arrived at the airport,” airline officials said.

>> Related: Man goes through McDonald’s drive-thru on horseback

There have been complaints in recent months that some people have been violating the federal law that allows service animals on planes by bringing pets and trying to pass them off as therapy animals to avoid cargo fees.

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