Passenger brings 'support turkey' on Delta flight - Spokane, North Idaho News & Weather KHQ.com

Passenger brings 'support turkey' on Delta flight

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A turkey. On a plane. (PHOTO:  biggestlittlepickle/Reddit) A turkey. On a plane. (PHOTO: biggestlittlepickle/Reddit)
KHQ.com -

I was standing in our daily morning meeting on Friday, waiting for my turn to pitch story ideas to our group of reporters. I was staring at my phone, looking at cat photos on The Chive... I mean, the stock report in The Wall Street Journal, when I heard the phrase that would consume the rest of my morning: "Turkey on a plane." 

What? 

The words came from the mouth of KHQ Reporter Caitlin Rearden. She seemed fired up. Passionate about what she was talking about - someone brought a turkey on an airplane. 

My first thought: "Well, duh. How else are they supposed to fly?" Turkeys do not fly very well, if at all. Get it? 

Jokes aside, this apparently happened. A Delta flight attendant uploaded a photo of a turkey sitting in a seat (presumably in coach) on Reddit. Another Reddit user, who said his friend was the pilot on that particular flight, posted a shot of what presumably is the same bird sitting in a wheelchair before boarding. 

You've probably seen people bring their dogs on planes before. Maybe even a cat. Thanks to the Air Carrier Access Act of 1986, accommodations can be made for certain domestic animals. The act states that airlines cannot discriminate against passengers with disabilities, including those who require service animals when traveling. 

So this was a service turkey? It was documented as a "support animal." 

Some animals such as snakes, spiders, and farm poultry are "unacceptable" under the act. This particular time, a turkey apparently didn't qualify as "farm poultry." 

The picture of course went viral and Delta Airlines issued this response to the publicity: 

"Delta complies with the Air Carrier Access Act by allowing customers traveling with emotional support animals or psychiatric service animals to travel without charge in the cabin. While we can’t always accommodate all pets, Delta employees made a judgment call based in part on extensive documentation from the customer. We review each case and make every effort to accommodate our customers’ travel needs while also taking into consideration the health and safety of other passengers."

This particular passenger had the paperwork to back up the "service turkey" claim. 

Tom Bunn, a former commercial airline pilot who now spends his time helping people overcome their fear of flying, told Fox News that really all you need is a therapist to give you a note. 

“Any therapist can sign off on any kind of animal,” Bunn said. “Science has proven that when dogs look at you with total devotion, it produces oxytocin, a hormone that shuts down the fear mechanism. The turkey, I don’t think so.”

I think it's safe to say that most of us have been on a plane with a crying baby. The pressure is messing with their ears, they are uncomfortable and they let you know it. I'm not sure what a turkey freak out would have been like, but I'm sure if it had happened, someone would have taken video, right? That's too good to pass up. 

Delta said like humans, the turkey had to follow certain rules, like not blocking aisles or emergency exits. It also was not allowed to occupy a seat designated for a passenger. So, presumably, the little guy sat on its owner's lap and enjoyed the flight that it had so long dreamed about. 

Do you think this is right? Should there be limits on what qualifies as a support animal? Let us know on our Facebook page. 

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