Okay, so this was probably more of a publicity stunt than anything, but it’s still pretty entertaining. A performance artist took to Instagram to complain that United Airlines would not allow her to board her flight with her “emotional support peacock” in tow – a stunt that lead the airline to sternly clarify its rules regarding service animals.
Ventiko, a New York City-based performance artist, tried to hop on a flight to Los Angeles at New Jersey’s Newark Liberty International Airport on January 28 with her peacock, Dexter, but quickly discovered that her fowl had fouled up her travel plans.
“Spent 6 hours trying to get on my flight to LA,” she wrote on Instagram, noting that she had purchased an extra ticket just to make sure that Dexter would be comfortable aboard the flight.
A United spokesperson joylessly shut down Ventiko’s complaints, noting that she had been told multiple times that Dexter would get nowhere near the plane.
“We explained this to the customer on three separate occasions before they arrived at the airport,” the spokesperson said Tuesday, noting that Dexter “did not meet the guidelines for a number of reasons, including its weight and size.”
“We know that some customers require an emotional support animal to assist them their journey,” the statement added. “In order to ensure we provide the best service to everyone onboard our flights, consistent with government rules we currently require these customers to provide documentation from a medical professional and at least 48 hours advance notice.”
While Ventiko insists that Dexter is an important part of her life and pointed out that she made other accommodations for the bird to make the journey by land, some social media users were quick to blast the artist for ruining things for other passengers with genuine needs.
“You knew and [were] told it was not allowed plus from what I see, it is not a support animal,” one person wrote. “Shame on you for making a mockery of the emotional support guidelines and for abusing a policy that some do need with their small dog. It’s because of people like you that ruin it for others.”