Tuesday, 11 December, 2018

American Airlines updates support animal policy

Flight attendant serving coffee aboard an American Airlines flight As more support animals try to fly, American Airlines says leave the goats at home | Miami Herald
Orlando Vargas | 15 May, 2018, 20:54

The company said it recently saw a large uptick in customers with support or service animals.

We support the rights of customers, from veterans to people with disabilities, with legitimate needs for a trained service or support animal.

Michael Krinke via Getty Images Flying on American Airlines with a service animal will now require advance notice, as well as contact information for the passenger's mental health professional.

Travelers who fly with insects, hedgehogs or goats as service animals or for emotional support will no longer be able to bring the creatures aboard American Airlines flights. "Unfortunately, untrained animals can lead to safety issues for our team, our customers, and working dogs onboard our aircraft", the airlines said in a statement.

Any emotional support animal that growls, bites, jumps or lunges at people will be considered a pet, and pet fees and requirements will apply, the airline said. "Emotional support animals are not fully task-trained".

If a hedgehog, snake, or goat is your support animal, American Airlines is not the carrier for you.

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Fliers also now have to sign new behavioral guidelines for their animals.

American Airlines joins its competitors in clamping down on passengers travelling with emotional support animals.

Upon toughening its requirements in March, Delta reported an 84 percent hike in animal incidents since 2016, including the mauling of a passenger by a 50-pound dog on a flight from Atlanta to San Diego past year.

The airline said it met with a number of disability groups to get their input before making the changes, including My Blind Spot, an organization that works to make environments more accessible to everyone, regardless of disability. Richard Burr, R-N.C., introduced legislation to protect the ability of people with disabilities - including veterans - to travel with trained service animals.

American will also train its employees on how better to distinguish a support animal from a pet. He also discusses how we support our customers who have disabilities and what we've done to ensure we make decisions that maximize both inclusiveness and safety.

Those who want to bring such an animal on board now have to file paperwork 48 hours before a flight, and there are new restrictions on which types of animals are permitted.

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