American Airlines Grounding Emotional Support Animals
If you have traveled by air over the past five years, you have probably seen the boom in folks traveling with emotional support animals. I've seen a lady traveling with a monkey. I also saw a man with a snake around his neck. You have even heard stories about emotional support goats and ponies. Now this is changing.
The Associated Press reports time is running out for emotional-support animals on airline flights. American Airlines is banning companion animals gradually by Feb. 1. As required by federal rules, passengers with a trained service dog will still be allowed to bring the dog on board at no extra charge. But owners of other pets, including untrained companion animals, will have to pay a fee. They'll also have to put their animal in the cargo hold or a kennel that fits underneath a seat in the cabin — no more letting pets sit at their owner's feet.
For about a year, US airlines have been lobbying for the change. And now the nation's largest airline is moving forward with a ban.
Last month, the Department of Transportation announced changes to the policy “to ensure a safe and accessible air transportation system.”
This does not completely eliminate animals from flights. Trained service animals like guide dogs for the blind will still be permitted. But emotional support animals will no longer be allowed. Travelers will now have to pay pet travel fees. The changes are expected to go into effect next month.