Feb. 1 (UPI) -- United Airlines on Thursday released new guidelines for bringing emotional support animals on board.
The airline imposed three new requirements, including notifying the accessibility desk 48 hours before departure; a letter from a licensed medical professional; and documentation for the animal's health, vaccination and confirmation of "appropriate behavioral training."
The new requirements go into effect on March 1.
United's current emotional support animal policy does not require such stringent documentation but Charlie Hobart, a spokesman for United,told NPR that's "why it's been getting out of hand."
Hobart said there has been a vast increase in emotional support animals coming on board, which has resulted in more incidents, including biting and animal reactions.
"We can't continue going down this path where we continue to see customers who may be either loosely interpreting the policy or maybe even taking advantage of it to the detriment of folks who legitimately need to bring emotional support animals on board," Hobart said.
Earlier this week, a passenger attempted to bring a pet peacock on board a United Airlines flight and even bought a ticket for the bird. When the story was reported, United said it has already informed the passenger, prior to her arrival to the airport, that the peacock would not be allowed on the plane.
Hobart on Thursday said that although new rules were already in the works, the peacock incident spurred the airline into action.
"The old policy was in place and that policy prevented Dexter the peacock from boarding the aircraft. The policy worked as intended," Hobart told USA Today. "With all of the commotion regarding the peacock, that has sort of crystallized to our employees and customers why we need to further enhance this policy."
For those who can't provide all the required documentation, United will still let their domesticated cats, dogs, rabbits and household birds fly for $125 each way.
United's rule changes follows Delta's decision to issue similar rule changes earlier this month.