American Airlines Has Announced New Emotional Support Animal Policy Or Service!

(Last Updated On: May 15, 2018)

First United Airlines change the pet policies  and banned to take an emotional support peacock onboarding. But now American Airlines is going through with same policies and telling that some of their service or emotional support animals like goats, hedgehogs, and tusked creatures can’t fly anymore.

So, ferrets, goats, and hedgehogs can no longer fly on American Airlines, even if they support animals from 1st July. The airline has put out these animals in response to an increase the customers transporting service or support animal onboard.

AA said in a statement, “We support the rights of customers, from veterans to people with disabilities, with legitimate needs for a trained service or support animal. Unfortunately, untrained animals can lead to safety issues for our team, our customers, and working dogs onboard our aircraft.”

Emotional support animals provide comfort to those suffering from emotional or psychological conditions such as anxiety, depression and panic attacks. They are typically allowed to fly on planes for free if they meet certain requirements. American Airlines (AAL) said that between 2016 and 2017, the number of customers transporting service or support animals aboard their planes rose by more than 40%.

Some of the changes include additional restrictions on animal types, including sugar gliders and snakes. American Airlines will now enforce the existing 48-hour advanced notice and pre-clearance policy for emotional support animals but will have procedures for emergency travel booked within 48 hours of departure.

For people traveling with service animals on flights longer than 8 hours, documentation is required.

To travel with an emotional support and psychiatric service animal in the cabin, customers must contact the Special Assistance Desk with all required documentation at least 48 hours before their flight. Documentation validation includes AA contacting their mental health professional.

The following is the AA’s new emotional support animal policy.

  • Emotional/psychiatric support and fully-trained service animals can fly in the cabin at no charge if they meet the requirements.
  • Animals must be able to fit at the under the seat or in the lap of customers but animals seated on lap must be smaller than a 2-year old child.
  • Customers cannot be allowed to sit in an exit row when traveling with their service or emotional/psychiatric support animal.
  • Emotional support and service animals cannot protrude into or block aisles, occupy a seat and eat from tray tables.
  • Passengers need to have mental health documents of their support animal from their mental health professional.
  • Owners can fill out the paperwork for the day of their flight, or even at the airport.
  • Fliers also have to sign new behavioral guidelines for their animals. This form mandates that emotional support animals be kept on a leash or harness throughout the flight, and says that the animal can be denied travel if there is “any severely aggressive behavior.”
  • Miniature horses remain okay so long if they are properly trained as service animals.

Animal Behavior:

Emotional support and service animals must be trained to behave properly in public; they must be tethered by leash or under your control at all times. Animals will not be allowed in the cabin if they show any type of disruptive behavior that is not successful under controlled like:

  • Growling
  • Biting or attempting to bite
  • Jumping on or lunging at people

If this behavior is observed at any point during the journey, then the animal will be considered a pet and applicable fees will apply as under all pet requirements.

Pets:

Some animals cannot be permitted as service or emotional support animals due to safety and/or public health risk.

In addition to the current requirements, for tickets issued on or after July 1, 2018, American will require customers traveling with support animals to complete the following paperwork:

  • Mental Health Professional Form
  • Behavior Guidelines
  • Animal Sanitation During 8+ Hours Form (only required if your flight is scheduled to be over 8 hours)

On top of that, American is banning the following types of animals as service animals:

  • Amphibians
  • Ferrets
  • Goats
  • Hedgehogs
  • Insects
  • Reptiles
  • Rodents
  • Snakes
  • Spiders
  • 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

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