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Popeyes offers 'Emotional Support Chicken' at Philly airport

Krystal Hu

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' marketing video shows a "Emotional Support Chicken" box at the Philadelphia airport, with a puppy in the background. (Photo: Popeyes)

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.

Hope Diaz, chief marketing officer of Popeyes said the meal is a limited-time holiday offering. It remains to be seen how the temporary promotion in one busy airport will be received. “We hope to bring travelers a good laugh and a hot meal to ease the stress of holiday travel,” Diaz told Yahoo Finance.

Krystal Hu covers technology and trade for Yahoo Finance. Follow her on Twitter.

Read more:

Delta bans emotional support animals on long flights