Ask the Captain: Will airlines ever adopt common-sense rules on emotional support animals?

Calling a family pet an emotional support animal is rife for abuse. If you need a support animal or blanket to feel secure while flying, it might be time to consider the train. How can we get the airlines and Congress to come up with common-sense rules?

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American Airlines ESA

American Airlines flight attendant bitten by emotional support dog, requires five stitches

The DOT (Department of Transportation) sought comments from travelers in 2018 and was flooded with replies, but so far no action has been taken.

“We need the (U.S.) Department of Transportation to take action now, so events like the one that happened yesterday do not continue to occur on our planes,” the statement said. “This is fundamentally about maintaining safety, health and security for passengers and crew, while ensuring accessibility for those who need it.”

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American Airlines is banning many puppies and kittens from flying as emotional support animals — but some miniature horses are still fine

Service animals have been limited to just dogs, cats and in special circumstances miniature horses. Emotional support animals have been limited to cats and dogs. Only one emotional support animal per passenger will be allowed. Animals under the age of four months have been banned from travelling as service and support animals

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New airline rules haven’t stopped an increase in pets, including emotional-support animals

Last year, the number of pets carried by U.S. airlines (usually for a fee in the cabin or cargo hold) increased 11% to 784,000, according to Airlines for America, the industry’s lobbying organization. The number of service animals increased 24% to 281,000, according to A4A. And the number of emotional-support animals leapt 56% in that one-year period, to 751,000.

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