Another Airline Is Cracking Down On Emotional Support Animals

Andrew Cummings
May 15, 2018

The U.S. Department of Transportation lets passengers fly with emotional support animals but gives airlines the ability to impose restrictions.

Goats, insects, hedgehogs, pigs and amphibians are included on the forbidden animals list based on the new rules.

Any emotional support animal that growls, bites, jumps or lunges at people will be considered a pet, and pet fees and requirements will apply, the airline said. Its busiest hubs are, in order, Dallas/Fort Worth, Charlotte, Miami, Chicago O'Hare and Philadelphia. "Unfortunately, untrained animals can lead to safety issues for our team, our customers and working dogs onboard our aircraft". There has also been a 40 percent increase in the number of passengers flying with their support animals.

"A service animal is a dog or miniature horse that is basic obedience trained, potty trained, and task trained for someone's disability", said Amanda Pratt, the owner and a trainer at Scout's Legacy Service Dogs.


A number of groups were consulted by American for its new policy, including the American Association of People with Disabilities, Paralyzed Veterans of America, the American Council for the Blind and My Blind Spot.

Passengers wanting to travel with their emotional support animal in the cabin will also be required to submit documentation at least 48 hours before their flight.

Another airline is cracking down on emotional support animals.

In April, U.S. Sen.


Albert Rizzi, the organization's founder, who is legally blind, stressed in an American Airlines employee podcast on Monday that the changes being made by the airline will not affect those who rely on trained service animals. "It's hard to discern the difference between people passing off a pet as an emotional support dog versus a legitimate service animal that is there to mitigate a disability". But they would no longer receive the protections against discrimination afforded by the Air Carrier Access Act.

United Airlines had to make that decision back in January, when an emotional support peacock named Dexter was denied entry to a flight in Newark.

Upon toughening its requirements in March, Delta reported an 84 percent hike in animal incidents since 2016, including the mauling of a passenger by a 50-pound dog on a flight from Atlanta to San Diego previous year.


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