The use of emotional support animals, or comfort animals, are on the rise. However, policies on bringing emotional support animals on a flight are about to get stricter.
On a recent American Airlines flight from Dallas-Fort Worth (DFW) to Greensboro, North Carolina, a passenger’s emotional support dog chomped on a flight attendant’s hand. The flight attendant required five stitches on his hand after returning to Dallas.
The Association of Flight Attendants-CWA said in a statement on Tuesday, “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 union said that although it supports the use of fully trained service animals, the use of emotional support animals falls in a gray area. Not all emotional support animals are trained, and their owners can easily obtain certification online.
“This is fundamentally about maintaining safety, health and security for passengers and crew, while ensuring accessibility for those who need it,” the union said.
As the popularity of bringing emotional support animals on flights increase, so are the attacks on passengers and crew. Just this year, a five-year-old was allegedly mauled at the airport and a man is suing Delta for negligence after an emotional support animal attacked him face-first in 2017.
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