(FOX News) -- Well, that didn’t fly. In the wake of a now-viral story about a woman and her emotional support peacock being denied entry on a United Airlines flight departing Newark Liberty International Airport, which Fox News first reported on Jan. 31, the airline has officially tightened up its policy for traveling with emotional support animals, a move that they say has been months in the making.
Company spokesman Charlie Hobart told Fox News that the Newark airport peacock incident “had absolutely nothing to do with" the new measures.
“[The new policy] had been in the works for quite some time. The peacock incident was completely coincidental, and it did help illustrate to a wider audience the need for clarification and greater enhanced regulations,” Hobart said. He added the new policy does not affect United’s rules for traveling with service animals.
“Year over year, we have seen a 75 percent increase in customers bringing emotional support animals on board and as a result have experienced a significant increase in onboard incidents involving these animals. We understand that other carriers are seeing similar trends,” the company said in a press release.
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