Thursday, June 21, 2018
Transportation

She tried to board a flight with her ‘emotional support peacock.’ The airline said no.

Airlines are cracking down on the use of "emotional support animals" — and their case could be strengthened by a woman who tried to bring a peacock onboard a United Airlines flight.

First reported by The Jet Set, a travel-focused show, a woman at Newark Liberty International Airport in New Jersey tried to board a United Airlines flight with an "emotional support peacock" on Sunday.

United Airlines denied the peacock , named Dexter, from flying 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," an airline spokeswoman told the Washington Post Tuesday.

Many on social media sided with the airline and criticized Ventiko for her "selfishness" in trying to fly with Dexter. They complained that this incident makes it harder for people who actually need the animals.

"And this is why my friends who have service dogs can’t fly without problems," Facebook user Karen Fuller wrote in the comments on a Jet Set Facebook post about the story.

"Yeah no, I’m sorry but no. This whole comfort animal nonsense has skewed off on a tangent and needs to be stopped," another Facebook user wrote.

Some users thought those criticizing Ventiko lacked a sense of humor.

"Oh darling Dexter, what a kerfuffle you have so innocently created. I think you are your girl are totally brilliant. I and my greyhound would so much rather sit next to you rather than next to any of those dreary sad people," Instagram user linda_may_miller wrote underneath Dexter’s photo.

"I see you’re making headlines! I would much rather sit next to peacock than a screaming child or someone who falls asleep on my shoulder," another instagram user wrote.

Related story: Fur and fury at 40,000 feet as more people bring animals on planes

Not to be confused with service animals, emotional support animals , are animals used to provide emotional support for their owners and can bring some relief for symptoms relating to depression, anxiety and specific phobias.

Unlike service animals, these animals do not necessarily have special training to assist people with disabilities.

Service animals, as defined by the Americans for Disabilities Act, are specifically dogs that are individually trained to assist people with physical, sensory, psychiatric, intellectual or other mental disabilities.

Examples include guide dogs that aid the blind, dogs that help assist people with seizure disorders or a dog that aids a person struggling with PTSD.

Service animals are allowed to accompany their handlers anywhere, including places that have "No Pets" policies since a service animal isn’t considered to be a pet under the law.

Emotional support animals are not considered service animals under the ADA, so they have different laws to govern them.

Federal guidelines allow for passengers with disabilities to board flights with a variety of animals. However, airlines can deny "unusual" service animals such as snakes and other reptiles, ferrets, rodents and spiders, the Washington Post reported.

Miniature horses, pigs and monkeys require special consideration under the guidelines as airlines must decide if they would threaten the safety of other passengers or cause a disruption.

Passengers who want to travel with emotional support animals could be required to provide documentation from a mental health professional. But these documents can be forged or gathered from questionnaire-style websites for a fee, according to ABC news.

One passenger managed to bring a Turkey onto a Delta Airlines flight in 2016 under these federal guidelines, according to a post on Reddit.

My neighbor is a flight attendant. He just posted this photo of someone’s "therapy pet," on his flight. from r/pics

The Department of Transportation noted that complaints related to service animals on flights almost quadrupled between 2012 and 2016, according to the Washington Post.

On Jan. 19, Delta announced that it had enough and was revising its emotional support animal policy, citing a 150 percent increase from 2015 in passengers flying with the animals. The airline said it flew 250,000 service or support animals last year.

"Delta Air Lines is taking steps to further protect its customers, employees and service and support animals by implementing advance documentation requirements for those animals. This comes as a result of a lack of regulation that has led to serious safety risks involving untrained animals in flight. The new requirements support Delta’s top priority of ensuring safety for its customers, employees and trained service and support animals, while supporting the rights of customers with legitimate needs, such as disabled veterans, to travel with trained animals." Delta said in its press release.

Starting on March 1, Delta will require customers wishing to travel with the support animals to show proof of health or vaccinations 48 hours in advance. All proof must be gathered within a year of the travel date. Passengers will also be required to have a letter signed by a doctor or licensed mental health professional.

Comments
Petition language reveals details of Hillsborough sales tax transportation initiative

Petition language reveals details of Hillsborough sales tax transportation initiative

TAMPA — The Hillsborough County Supervisor of Elections on Friday approved petition language that will let a new group of transportation advocates begin gathering the 48,000 signatures they need to get a sales tax initiative on the Nov. 6 ballot.All ...
Published: 06/15/18
Carlton: A trolley instead of a boondoggle? About time, Tampa

Carlton: A trolley instead of a boondoggle? About time, Tampa

You could rightly call the vintage streetcars that trundle between downtown Tampa and Ybor City big, beautiful boondoggles.Charming?Yes. An integral part of this city’s unique history?Absolutely.And in their current incarnation, overpriced, inefficie...
Published: 06/15/18
Federal judge halts work on Suncoast 2 toll road

Federal judge halts work on Suncoast 2 toll road

U.S. District Judge James S. Moody, Jr. granted a temporary restraining order on Thursday to halt the work that has already begun on the extension of the Suncoast Parkway — aka the controversial "Suncoast 2."The toll road now ends at U.S. 98 at the n...
Published: 06/14/18
Updated: 06/15/18
Hillsborough group pushing new referendum on raising sales tax for transportation

Hillsborough group pushing new referendum on raising sales tax for transportation

TAMPA — In 2010, Hillsborough voters soundly rejected a 1 cent sales tax hike backed by their elected leaders to raise billions of dollars for roads, bus expansion and light rail. In 2016, county commissioners helped develop a new transportation plan...
Published: 06/14/18
SunPass apologizes to customers who couldn’t access accounts after website maintenance

SunPass apologizes to customers who couldn’t access accounts after website maintenance

Users were unable to access their SunPass accounts on Monday after the release of a system redesign that took the system’s web site, app and hotlines down for a week.From June 5-11, the SunPass website, hotlines and mobile app were taken down for sys...
Published: 06/14/18
Elon Musk to build 125 mph underground transit line serving Chicago O’Hare

Elon Musk to build 125 mph underground transit line serving Chicago O’Hare

Elon Musk has taken on a task perhaps more challenging than launching rockets into space: getting passengers from Chicago’s O’Hare airport to the Loop in 12 minutes, roughly three to four times as fast as the current taxi journey.The plan for the "Ch...
Published: 06/14/18
This trooper pulled over a driver - then realized the man had delivered him nearly 27 years ago

This trooper pulled over a driver - then realized the man had delivered him nearly 27 years ago

New Jersey state trooper Michael Patterson was on patrol recently when he pulled over a white BMW for a routine traffic stop.He asked the driver for his license and registration, and the two started making small talk. It turned out that the driver, M...
Published: 06/13/18
Fares eliminated on downtown Tampa trolley following FDOT grant

Fares eliminated on downtown Tampa trolley following FDOT grant

TAMPA — Fares on the TECO Line Streetcar in downtown Tampa will be eliminated for three years following a grant funded by the Florida Department of Transportation.The grant provide $2.67 million to Hillsborough Area Regional Transit, allowing it to t...
Published: 06/12/18
Tampa road work forces office workers to wait up to an hour to get out of their parking garage every day

Tampa road work forces office workers to wait up to an hour to get out of their parking garage every day

TAMPA — At 42 floors tall, the largest office building on Florida’s Gulf Coast offers some spectacular views.But good luck getting out of it.Since the start of a $5.7 million street resurfacing project late last year on Kennedy Boulevard and Jackson ...
Published: 06/11/18
Updated: 06/12/18
After 43 years driving cabs, he has plenty of stories to tell

After 43 years driving cabs, he has plenty of stories to tell

A criminal on the run? Check. Two drunk elderly women seeking a threesome? Check. A repentant murderer? A possible ghost? A stabbing victim who doesn’t seem to know he’s been stabbed? Check, check and check. Come up with an outrageous scenario and Je...
Published: 06/08/18
Updated: 06/11/18