Woman with 'emotional support' peacock barred from flight

In photos posted on travel talk show The Jet Set's Facebook page, the large pheasant could be seen resting on a luggage trolley.
In photos posted on travel talk show The Jet Set's Facebook page, the large pheasant could be seen resting on a luggage trolley.PHOTO: INSTAGRAM/DEXTERTHEPEACOCK

(ASIAONE) - With a peacock perched on her arm, a woman attempted to check in for her flight at a New Jersey airport last Saturday (Jan 27).

She and her "emotional support animal" were turned away by United Airlines despite her offer to buy the bird its own air ticket, US media reported.

In photos posted on travel talk show The Jet Set's Facebook page, the large pheasant could be seen resting on a luggage trolley.

Reports of the incident have ruffled the feathers of netizens.

Some of them said that United Airlines should have allowed the traveller to board her flight with her peacock while others called the incident ridiculous.

Several airlines in the United States allow service animals and emotional support animals in the cabin to accompany persons with disabilities. However, these travellers have to produce documentation from licensed healthcare professionals.

United told NBC News that the woman was barred from the flight as the peacock did not meet guidelines such as weight and size. The airline said this was explained to the woman before she turned up at the airport. It added that it is reviewing its current policy regarding assistance animals.

 

Now, other netizens have cast doubt on whether the peacock is an actual emotional support animal as more details of the traveller and her bird have emerged online.

The woman was identified as conceptual artist Ventiko who said in a separate interview that she adopted the bird after using it in a performance art piece in 2014.

Ventiko named it Dexter and even set up an Instagram account documenting her pet's daily life.

But a recent post about her failed attempt to fly to Los Angeles with the peacock was met with mixed reactions.

While some people said that they were charmed by its appearance at the airport, many others slammed the incident as a PR stunt and said Ventiko did "a disservice to people with legit service animals."

Although it was barred from the flight, Dexter has gone on a road trip with its "human friends" and is now in Oklahoma, about halfway to their destination.