Airlines In The US Will Now Be Encouraged to Ban Emotional Support Animals From Flights

Texas A&M University Libraries

If you were hoping to board an airline with your emotional support turkey or pig mid-January or later, we hate to be the bearers of bad news, but that’s probably not going to happen

The Department of Transportation issued guidance last year that encouraged airlines to allow emotional support animals to fly with passengers. That means that instead of only trained service dogs flying on board the aircraft with his or her owner, an animal that a passenger claims offers emotional support could also fly with the passenger for free.

Of course, all good things must come to an end, that is, if you consider it a good thing that the person sitting next to you on the airplane might have an emotional support duck, turtle or spider on board.

In case you couldn’t tell by the types of animals we’ve listed, too many passengers have taken advantage of the situation, so much so that the Department of Transportation has changed the guidance. Passengers really have boarded airplanes will all of the types of animals we’ve mentioned.

The new guidance states that airlines are no longer required to allow passengers to fly with emotional support animals; however, they can do so at their discretion. The only animals airlines will be required to allow on board are trained service dogs, and airlines can require passengers to keep these dogs on a leash. This revision will go into effect in 30 days.

“This final rule defines a service animal as a dog, regardless of breed or type, that is individually trained to do work or perform tasks for the benefit of a qualified individual with a disability, including a physical, sensory, psychiatric, intellectual, or other mental disability.1 It allows airlines to recognize emotional support animals as pets, rather than service animals, and permits airlines to limit the number of service animals that one passenger can bring onboard an aircraft to two service animals.”

The Department of Transportation made this change to keep crew and passengers safe. According to the revision, there have been too many complaints about unusual animals on board airplanes “which has eroded the public trust in legitimate service animals” and at times these animals have been disruptive.

Have you ever seen an unusual animal on an airplane? Do you think this change in guidelines is a good idea?