Someone Tried to Board a Plane With an Emotional Support Peacock

Emotional support is important when navigating the predictable horrors of commercial air travel. Seemingly unaware of the psychological toll inflicted on passengers, airlines have been tightening restrictions on service animals, who ostensibly make all the bad, scary things lurking in airplane bathrooms disappear. 

Seizing on this trend, United Airlines has made it known that there is one creature capable of providing a figurative safety blanket that it will never accommodate: the ever-radiant peacock. A woman at Newark International Airport was denied boarding by the airline after trying to bring her "service peacock" into the cabin. She had reportedly purchased a seat for the luxurious bird and its lush plumage, but United was unwilling to fork over the extra-real estate for an exotic avian. After all, this is not Emirates Airlines, which will gladly accommodate you if you're traveling with 80 falcons.

“We explained this to the customer on three separate occasions before they arrived at the airport,” United explained in a statement to NBC News

United elaborated on its policy concerning support animals, noting that comfort creatures also need to be properly vetted according to government and industry standards. Peacocks need not apply: 

“We know that some customers require an emotional support animal to assist them through their journey,” the airline said. “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.”

It is unknown what aspect of a peacock is the most emotionally comforting, and how they exude calm for an anxious flyer. They're said to be pretty moody, especially judging by the plethora of "Angry Peacock" videos on YouTube. Maybe their brilliant plumage puts paranoid travelers into a state of hypnosis? 

In any case, the bird may have dodged a bullet, as United has a pretty terrible track record with jettisoning animals. 

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Sam Blum is a News Staff Writer for Thrillist. He's also a martial arts and music nerd who appreciates a fine sandwich and cute dogs. Find his clips in The Guardian, Rolling Stone, The A.V. Club and Esquire. He's on Twitter @Blumnessmonster