Since the passenger was an artist, and a performance artist at that, I’m guessing that trying to bring a peacock onboard a flight as an “emotional support” animal is some sort of performance (and/or publicity) piece. Because, really, just how much support does one get from a peacock?
Here’s the story:
A woman showed up at Newark Airport, intending to get on her flight with her emotional support peacock.
United Airlines doesn’t always get it right. Didn’t they recently drag a passenger off after he wouldn’t give up his seat, having been randomly picked to get kicked off due to UA’s having overbooked the flight? And wasn’t it United that wouldn’t board the family with kids wearing leggings (or whatever offending item of clothing it was), again because they’d overbooked the flight. So, despite using Gershwin’s gorgeous “Rhapsody in Blue” as their theme, the skies aren’t always friendly.
But all I can say in this situation is bravo, United.
United Airlines confirmed that the exotic animal was barred from the plane Saturday because it “did not meet guidelines for a number of reasons, including its weight and size.”
“We explained this to the customer on three separate occasions before they arrived at the airport,” a spokeswoman for the airline said in a statement Tuesday.
United Airlines did not identify the bird’s owner, citing privacy policies. (Source: Washington Post)
United didn’t identify the bird’s owner, but let’s hear it for Google: her name is Ventiko. She’s a
…critically acclaimed conceptual artist working in photography, performative experiences and social practice. Her work focuses on the (re)construction of moments not in time but in thought to express social positions on sexuality, persona and the state of the modern woman.
I knew it!
Conceptual artist…performative experience…the state of modern woman.
Christ, if the state of modern woman is that she needs an emotional support peacock, we’re all doomed.
I couldn’t find any mention on Ventiko’s website – but, ahem, perhaps talking about your emotional support peacock is too personal and experience for your business web page – but the peacock is apparently named Dexter. (Dexter? Hmmmm. Isn’t that the name of a TV serial killer?)
And if you guessed that Ventiko lives in Brooklyn. Well, ding, ding, ding for you.
I’ve had my say about emotional support animals in the past, posting Pet Friendly more than 3 years ago. What I said then pretty much still holds.
I just wouldn’t have anticipated that peacocks would be getting in the game.
Peacocks, after all, aren’t exactly known for their dispositions and empathetic personalities. While they’re quite beautiful when in full display, they’re known to be pretty nasty. Aggressive in mating season. And – if you’ve ever been to a zoo where they’re roaming around – capable of making some of the most ear-splitting, god-awful sounds known to man.
There are some folks out there – the type who think that chickens make good little companions – who are all in for peacocks as pets. (No word on whether they’re good at providing emotional support.) But when it comes to peacocks, I’ll take the word of the animal-loving Brits:
Because of their nature, peacocks are not really suitable to be kept as pets in residential areas. Peacocks are ideally suited to Country Houses, or rural areas with no close neighbours. (Source: Wrexham Government pamphlet.)
And if peacocks don’t belong in residential areas, they sure don’t belong on airplanes.
Federal law requires that airlines allow passengers with disabilities to bring support animals onboard, whether they’re fully trained service animals (like a Seeing Eye dog) or so-called emotional support animals.
But airlines have some latitude to deny boarding to certain “unusual” service animals, including snakes, other reptiles, ferrets, rodents and spiders. When deciding to allow animals such as miniature horses, pigs and monkeys, the airlines must determine whether the animal is a threat to the health or safety of others or would cause a disruption on the flight.
The problem is not, of course, those with legitimate reasons to bring along an animal. It’s the a-holes who pull some bogus document off a website. This has brought about something of a proliferation of bad-actor animals pissing, shitting, vomiting, biting, and generally acting in an unruly – even animal-like - manner on flights – disturbing everyone on the plane.
Stories abound of scenes seemingly out of a parody movie: A duck wandering around an airline aisle, or a flight attendant who said that they were asked to administer oxygen to a dog that its owner claimed was having an anxiety attack midflight.
I’m all in favor of emotional support. Yay, emotional support! But if you’re so in need of emotional support that you have to bring a pecking, screeching peacock with you, maybe you just need to stay at home. -----------------------------------------------------------------------------
Thanks to my sister Trish for offering her practical and emotional support but texting me a link to this story in the very moment of dire need of a Pink Slip topic.
I’m all in favor of emotional support. Yay, emotional support! But if you’re so in need of emotional support that you have to bring a pecking, screeching peacock with you, maybe you just need to stay at home.