Delta Air Lines announced a tougher policy on traveling with service and support animals earlier this month, but if one recent incident at Newark Liberty International Airport is any indication, it’s likely that we’ll see more of an industry-wide crackdown in the coming weeks.
As The Jet Set first reported on Jan. 29, a passenger and her emotional support animal attempted to board a United flight this past weekend, and despite having purchased two seats to avoid any and all issues with their travel plans, the animal was denied boarding. Because as it happens, the woman’s traveling companion just happened to be a peacock.
This isn’t a new problem, as Live and Let’s Fly pointed out, and birds have been flying with their owners for years – much to the dismay of their fellow passengers. But it’s worth noting that in its Jan. 19 policy change announcement, even Delta admitted there had been an uptick in unfortunate incidents as a result of increased numbers of in-flight animals. “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.”
Naturally, the internet was split down the middle when it came to whether or not the woman and her peacock should have been allowed to board the flight. But from where we stand, it’s now on the airlines to take a firm stance on the limits of support animals – and to ensure that the internet never has to ponder the pros and cons of fancy friends again.