American Airlines updates support animal policy

American Airlines updates support animal policy

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.

There are new restrictions on which types of animals are permitted on American Airlines flights. "Unfortunately, untrained animals can lead to safety issues for our team, our customers and working dogs onboard our aircraft". Also banned are snakes, spiders, sugar gliders, non-household birds and animals with tusks, horns or hooves, "excluding miniature horses properly trained as service animals", which are occasionally used by blind people with dog phobias or allergies. American Airlines will double check with mental health providers to validate requests.

The changes are a way for American to reduce the number of passengers who try to pass their pets off as support animals to avoid additional fees.

American Airlines is making it very clear: rodents, insects and reptiles can not be brought on planes as emotional support animals. Passengers were previously allowed to provide the documents the day of their flight. Owners will also need to sign a waiver certifying their animal is well-behaved.

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WestJet says it accepts dogs, cats, miniature horses, pigs and monkeys emotional support animals on its flights, subject to import and export conditions on worldwide flights.

Albert Rizzi, the organization's founder, who is legally blind, stressed in an American Airlines employee podcast on Monday that the changes being made by the airline will not affect those who rely on trained service animals.

American will also enforce its existing 48-hour advanced notice policy for emotional support animals. The airline says it will have procedures in place to accommodate last-minute bookings. However, snakes, reptiles, ferrets, rodents and spiders are not allowed due to health and safety risks. Delta said that all passengers attempting to board with a service animal would have to show "proof", 48 hours in advance, that the animal is in good health and has been vaccinated.

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