United Airlines

United’s policy changes places new restrictions on service and emotional support animals in 2019

United Airlines is limiting emotional support animals to flights under 8 hours. No kittens or puppies under four months will be allowed in-cabin. Emotional support animals will be limited to dogs and cats, service animals are limited to dogs, cats and miniature horses.

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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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Survey: 61 percent of flight attendants say emotional support animals have caused trouble midflight

AFA reported earlier this week that 82 percent flight attendants surveyed agree that the DOT needs to release a more clarified policy on the requirements for emotional support animal in the high skies, while continuing necessary support for travelers with disabilities and veterans.

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Airports join airlines in tightening the leash on animal travel

As had been widely reported, airlines have seen a sharp rise in the number of animals traveling on planes. Some are ticketed pets, but many are pets that have been flying for free thanks to loopholes in rules governing the transport of emotional or psychiatric support animals.

American Airlines reported a 40 percent increase in the number of service and emotional support animals on flights between 2016 and 2017. United Airlines cited a 75 percent increase year over year.

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So you want a letter saying you need a support dog on that flight? Here’s why a therapist might balk

“This thing has gotten out of hand,” said Jeff Younggren, a psychologist and clinical professor at the University of New Mexico, who has conducted several studies on the subject of emotional support animals.

The number of passengers flying with emotional support animals on the nation’s airlines has surged. United Airlines, one of the biggest carriers, saw a 75% increase last year compared with 2016. The trend has been accompanied by more incidents of animals urinating, defecating, biting, barking and lunging on planes. A passenger was even mauled by a 50-pound dog on a Delta flight last year.

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Miniature horses are welcome as service animals, but monkeys are a maybe, according to U.S. airline regulators

Miniature horses are in, for now. But capuchin monkeys are on shakier ground.

The U.S. Department of Transportation said Wednesday that it will work to make sure “the most commonly used service animals (i.e., dogs, cats, and miniature horses)” are still allowed on flights, despite increased efforts by airlines to crack down on fraudulent assistance critters of all kinds.

Reports of maulings, allergic reactions, faked medical necessity forms and other abuses have poisoned the environment for responsible travelers who legitimately need service animals. The problems have spurred major airlines, including Delta, United and Alaska, to tighten their rules for psychiatric service animals and emotional support companions.

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Collared: New laws crack down on fake service dogs

Last month, Minnesota Gov. Mark Dayton, a Democrat, signed into law a bill making it illegal for people to misrepresent their pets as service animals, under which pet-loving perps are subject to a $100 fine and a misdemeanor charge. Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey, a Republican, signed a nearly identical bill, under which those “fraudulently misrepresent” service animal can be fined $250.

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Are people abusing the system to get free flights for pets?

So, how easy is it to fake it?

KDKA’s Amy Wadas decided to see how the process works, so she logged onto a website for a company called Certapet in hopes that she could get her 5-year-old cat, Simba, certified to become an ESA animal.

The site is one of several where a licensed medical professional will write an ESA letter for you if you pay a fee. Wadas had to answer a bunch of questions involving her mental health, like whether she felt down or had anxiety in the past week.

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