As some emotional support animals have wreaked havoc in the sky and airlines are tightening policies on their presence on board flights, Popeyes has found a marketing opportunity.
The Louisiana-based fried chicken chain, owned by Restaurant Brands International, launches its “Emotional Support Chicken” meal on Tuesday. The combo, served in a chicken-shaped paper box, includes three pieces of tenders, fries and a biscuit for $8.49. It’s only available at the chain’s location at the Philadelphia International Airport.
Popeyes said offering “its own version of emotional support animals” is inspired by news about travelers trying to bring various animals, including peacocks, squirrels and tarantulas on flights as “emotional support animals”. It sees the move as “a gesture designed to bring holiday travelers some needed humor.”
Popeyes’ “Emotional Support Chicken” launches on the same day when Delta Air Line’s ban of service and emotional support animals under four months old on flights goes into effect. The airline will also restrict all emotional support animals from boarding flights longer than eight hours starting Feb. 1, 2019.
Emotional support animals have caused some debate among airplane passengers. Airlines said some people abuse the rule and use it to avoid the pet fee. Unlike trained service animals who perform a task to help their owners with disabilities, most emotional support animals are not officially trained to offer support, but their owners consider them a comfort.