If new rules are rolled out, the days of flight passengers bringing birds, rabbits, and turtles as emotional support may come to an end.
According to the US Department of Transportation’s new proposal, only trained dogs should be qualified as service animals and enter flights.
This means that emotional support animals like untrained dogs, cats and pigs, rabbits, and snakes will no longer be allowed on flights.
The number of these animals has grown excessively in the last years, say the airlines.
They reached out to the transportation department to resolve potential scams- passengers who call their pets emotional support animals just to avoid paying fees that may range from $100 each way.
This Is a Good Solution, Claim Some
According to Albert Rizzi, founder of My Blind Spot, an advocacy group for disabled individuals, this is good step in the right direction for people like himself who’re dependent on legitimate service animals.
Rizzi emphasizes how some people want the advantages of being disabled without losing their senses or limbs, but only to take their pets with them.
The main trade group for large airlines in the US also praised this proposal.
Nicholas Calio, president of Airlines for America, explains that this will be an essential rule for a safer and healthier experience for everyone on the flight.
Flight attendants are also pleased with the proposal.
Sara Nelson who’s president of the Association of Flight Attendants said that the days of Noah’s Ark up in the air may finally cease.
She also notes that some of the members in this union were actually hurt by untrained pets on a flight.
Veterans Are Very Supportive of this Proposal
Veterans groups support this move as there’s been a rise in untrained animals on flights which threatens their ability to fly with trained service dogs.
In 2019, more than 80 veterans and disability groups supported the prohibition of untrained emotional support animals on flights.
However, people who claim that their emotional support animal helps them alleviate their anxiety or other problems say that this would avert them from travelling or increase the stress during.
Despite not being an organized group, there are a lot of them.
The Southwest Airlines handles more than 190,000 emotional support animals on a yearly basis.
What Would the New Law Mean If it’s Passed?
But, the officials of the Transportation Department say these changes are crucial for better safety in the air- some passengers and flight attendants have been bitten by these animals and some of these animals even relieve themselves on the planes and on the airports.
The current rules don’t demand there’s any proof of training for emotional support animals. But, the airlines can ask for a medical professional’s note saying this animal is necessary as support.
If the proposal is passed, airlines can’t ban special types of dog breeds if they qualify as service dogs. They could refuse to board a dog which they consider a threat.
There will also be requirements for animal owners to fill out paperwork 2 days before their flight.
And, they would also have to check in earlier than the others. They may also require the animal to be on a leash or a harness.