United Airlines ruffled some feathers a few days ago when it refused to let an emotional support peacock board an outbound flight in Newark, New Jersey.

Dexter the Peacock and his owner waited in the airport for several hours before deciding to take a roadtrip to California instead.

United has since announced an update to its support animal policy that it insists was a long time in the making.

Effective March 1, United’s new restrictions require customers flying emotional support animals to give the airline 48 hours’ notice in addition to a letter from a mental health professional, confirmation of the animal’s training and a clear record of health for the animal from a veterinarian, the press release states.

In recent years, many airlines have struggled to find a balance in their support animal policies. There has been an uptick in the number of support animals, “sparking suggestions that people are abusing the system.”

Some recent high-profile airborne animals include:

  • In 2014, a woman was escorted off a US Airways flight when her pig, named Hobie, defecated and squealed before the plane took off.”
  • “A year ago, a photo of 80 birds of prey was captured on board an airliner in the Middle East, promptly going viral online. The falcons were being flown from an unknown destination to Jeddah in Saudi Arabia, for what was believed to be a hunting trip.”
  • “Traveller Jodie Smalley, from Seattle, made headlines after taking her turkey on a pre-Christmas flight home in 2015. Cynics were surprised to hear that the bird made the return trip back in one piece – and wearing a special bird nappy.”
Forget the Atlanta falcons. These birds are headed to Saudi Arabia. Image via BBC.

It’s been a few days since Dexter was prevented from flying out west, but he’s been documenting his travels on Instagram.

In The Other Guys, Mark Wahlberg constantly tells others “I’m a peacock, you’ve got to let me fly.” Well, Dexter the Peacock decided to ride in style.

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