Over the past few months, both Delta and United Airlines have issued guidelines for the boarding of emotional support animals on flights. These guidelines come in response to an 84 percent increase in instances of animals biting other passengers, defecating, or urinating on flights -- actions that have many fliers up in arms. I guess I can't blame them: people have tried to fly with comfort turkeys, gliding possums known as sugar gliders, snakes, spiders and all sorts of other emotional support animals. And, of course, who could forget the peacock that one passenger tried to board with last year?
Yesterday, American Airlines followed suit -- issuing its own set of "enhanced requirements" for emotional support and service animals, effective for tickets issued on or after July 1, 2018.
For starters, American banned certain animals outright from boarding, due to "safety and/or public health risk." These forbidden animals include:
- Sugar gliders
- Non-household birds (farm poultry, waterfowl, game birds, & birds of prey)
- Animals with tusks, horns or hooves (excluding miniature horses properly trained as service animals)
- Any animal that is unclean / has an odor
Even emotional support snakes and goats are now banned from flying on American Airlines https://t.co/OIRfmRslmi-- TIME (@TIME) May 15, 2018
Yes -- in case you had any doubt, miniature horses properly trained as service animals are ok. Further, emotional support and service animals are not allowed to:
- Protrude into or block aisles
- Occupy a seat
- Eat from tray tables
And the following behaviors are likely to get them booted from the flight:
- Biting or attempting to bite
- Jumping on or lunging at people
If you decide you want to bring an emotional support animal along on a flight, you'll need to provide American Airlines with proper documentation at least 48 hours before your flight. Of course, if all this seems like one big hassle, then you might consider instead taking a train or saving up for a really long Uber ride.