American Airlines passengers will no longer have to share cabins with amphibians, ferrets, goats, hedgehogs, insects, spiders, snakes, rodents and sugar gliders, so that's good. But plenty of passengers still will abuse the airline's policies so they can fly with their pet dogs. That's a shame, since we all know some of the dogs aren't true support animals.
American Airlines Group Inc. is banning hoofed, horned, creepy and crawly creatures from flying as emotional support animals. Critters displaying threatening behavior like growling or biting won’t be allowed on board, either.
The carrier also will require 48-hour advance notice of plans to fly with an emotional or psychiatric support animal. Travelers will need to present a form signed by a mental health professional showing the disability involved, according to a post Monday on the Fort Worth, Texas-based airline’s website. The changes take effect July 1.
American is joining other major carriers in cracking down on passengers who claim support animals to travel in the cabin at no charge, after the number of such cases soared in recent years. Fellow travelers have been bitten by support animals in at least two cases.
Amphibians, ferrets, goats, hedgehogs, insects, spiders, snakes, rodents and sugar gliders are among the creatures banned by American for use as support animals. Non-household birds, as well as animals with tusks, horns and hooves are also grounded.
The airline isn’t changing its policies for trained service animals used by people with visual or hearing impairments, seizures or mobility issues.
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Photo credit: A dog named John John visits a pet relief area at New York's JFK airport in 2016. American Airlines is cracking down on abuses of its emotional support animal program. William Mathis / Associated Press