After more and more US airlines made it possible to charge so-called Emotional Support Animals instead of free, American Airlines is the next big US airline to take that step. As a result, they are no longer recognized as such and are practically banned.
At American Airlines, ‘Emotional Support Animals’ will in future cost fees from 125 dollars and can therefore no longer be carried in the cabin free of charge, which amounts to a ban due to non-recognition. Real service animals are of course also allowed. That reports among other things The Points Guy.
Support animals will cost from $ 125 fee in the future
American Airlines became the youngest airline to also ban so-called Emotional Support Animals from flying for free, about a month after the Department of Transportation gave the airlines the green light.
The new rule, which comes into effect on February 1, requires passengers traveling with an emotional support animal to bring it with them as hand luggage, which is subject to a fee of $ 125 or more, or even as checked baggage, the airline announced . American Airlines also restricts the types of animals that can travel in the cabin to certain breeds of dogs and cats.
Our team is motivated by a purpose to care for people on life’s journey, and we believe these policy changes will improve our ability to do just that. […] We’re confident this approach will enable us to better serve our customers, particularly those with disabilities who travel with service animals, and better protect our team members at the airport and on the aircraft.
Jessica Tyler, American Airlines president of the cargo division
Service animals are still accepted under the new policy, but travelers with disabilities must complete the appropriate form at least 48 hours prior to their flight confirming the dog’s behavior, training and health. The permit is valid for one year or until the animal’s vaccinations expire. The rule change comes one month after the U.S. Department of Transportation announced that it would no longer consider emotional support animals as service animals, defining a service animal as a dog that is individually trained to do work or perform tasks for the benefit of a person with a disability.
Delta Air Lines recognizes pit bulls as service animals
On Thursday, Delta Air Lines joined other airlines and also announced that the airline will no longer accept emotional support animals from January 11th – at least not for free. The airline will also lift its ban on pit bull-type dogs that qualify as trained service animals.
We applaud the DOT [US-Verkehrsministerium] for making this change and acknowledging the concerns that Delta and many other stakeholders have raised for the past several years. […] The DOT’s final rule enables airlines to put the safety of all employees and customers first, while protecting the rights of customers who need to travel with trained service animals.
Allison Ausband, Senior Vice President des Bordservice bei Delta Air Lines
Alaska Airlines will make a similar policy change next week, but will continue to accept Emotional Support Animals on reservations already booked through February 28th. Traveling with pets can make sense, but it does require a few extra steps and planning ahead, including ensuring proper vaccination records, familiarizing yourself with each airline’s guidelines, and bringing all your essentials with you.
Conclusion on the change to the Support Animals policy at American Airlines
Since it became possible in the USA to carry Emotional Support Animals on board the plane free of charge, there has been some criticism from the airlines, but also from passengers. After all, it was easy to declare your own pet as such an emotional support animal and it flew with you for free. Of course, a number of passengers took advantage of this. However, more and more US airlines are now putting a stop to this and that is more than understandable. After all, the really urgently needed service animals, for example for visually impaired passengers, continue to fly free of charge.
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