New Court Ruling: Emotional Support Animals on Airplanes Not Required To Allow On-Board.
The new rule now defines a service animal to be a dog that is “individually trained to do work or perform tasks for the benefit of a person with a disability” and limits the number of service animals a person can travel with to two. It also requires airlines to treat psychiatric service animals as they would other service animals.
“The final rule announced today addresses concerns raised by individuals with disabilities, airlines, flight attendants, airports, other aviation transportation stakeholders, and other members of the public, regarding service animals on aircraft,” DOT officials said in a statement.
The rule is set to go into effect 30 days after it is published in the Federal Register.
In 2018, United Airlines refused to let a woman fly with her emotional support peacock, Dexter, even after she had purchased a separate seat for him.
Earlier that year, a 21-year-old woman admitted to flushing her "doctor-certified" comfort hamster down an airport toilet after Spirit Airlines refused to let the hamster board the flight.
Passengers have also been seen with "comfort turkeys, gliding possums known as sugar gliders, snakes, spiders, and more," according to Delta, which cracked down on emotional support animals in 2018. The airline also banned "pit bull type" dogs as service or support animals.
However, under Department of Transportation rules, airlines are prohibited from banning service dogs based solely on their breeds.
The animal could also be turned away if it violates "applicable safety or health requirements of any U.S. federal agency, U.S. territory or foreign government." Individuals traveling to Hawaii with service animals or guide dogs must have appropriate documentation of the animal's vaccinations. Australia requires all animals, including service dogs, to undergo a quarantine period, even if accompanied with the appropriate paperwork. They take it very seriously.
In 2015, actor Johnny Depp's Yorkshire terriers, Pistol and Boo, were almost sentenced to death after entering the country illegally. Barnaby Joyce, Australia's agricultural minister at the time, told Depp the animals would be destroyed if they weren't removed voluntarily. Pistol and Boo were hustled out of the country.
Airlines Not Required To Transport Emotional Support Animals