American Airlines' pet restrictions

15 May, 2018, 22:42 | Author: Brooke Harris
  • As more support animals try to fly, American Airlines says leave the goats at home | Miami Herald

The airline unveiled a list of prohibited animals on Monday after it said a growing number of passengers have taken or attempted to take a range of animals on board planes for emotional support ― including a peacock, pig and hamster on other airlines.

Under American's new guidelines, insects, hedgehogs and goats join a list of restricted animals that includes amphibians, ferrets, reptiles, rodents, snakes, spiders, sugar gliders, non-household birds, animals with tusks, horns or hooves, and animals that are unclean or have an odor.

A United Airlines spokesperson said at the time that the airline experienced a 75 percent year-over-year increase in customers bringing emotional support animals on flights. The airline said it would also be more active in contacting medical professionals to verify a passenger's request for an onboard comfort animal.

The new rules are supposed to protect passengers who really do need to travel with service and support animals and are also geared towards preventing disruption in the cabin being caused by animals that are not properly trained, The Chicago Tribune reported. Carry-on pets incur a $125 fee. "Today, any pet owner can go online and buy a vest for a dog to pass it off as a service animal to gain access to restaurants, hotels and places of business", Republican state Rep. Kimberly Ferguson told PBS. Legitimate service animals travel for free. "Unfortunately, untrained animals can lead to safety issues for our team, our customers and working dogs onboard our aircraft".

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In developing the changes, the airline said it met with such organizations as the American Association of People with Disabilities, Paralyzed Veterans of America, American Council for the Blind and My Blind Spot. None of the restrictions affect American's service animal policy, which specifically applies to animals that are trained to assist people with disabilities.

American Airlines said no animals would be permitted to travel in the cabin if they displayed any disruptive behavior that included growling, biting, jumping or lunging at other passengers.

"This is not going to change the policy for those of us who are dependent on our trained, well-behaved service animals", he said. That could put Burr at odds with mental health advocates who see emotional support animals as a crucial part of treatment for some people with mental disabilities.

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