The changes come after a consultation by the carrier with multiple disability groups. Service animals will not be included in these changes, advised AA’s Suzanne Boda, but those with support animals will be required to give advance notice of their intentions and will need to sign a waiver.
American Airlines (AA) has unveiled amendments to its official policy on emotional support animals. It is hoped that this change – announced on Monday via the latest episode of Tell Me Why, the carrier’s vodcast series – will ensure the safety of both staff and customers.
In the vodcast, Suzanne Boda, American’s senior vice president, Los Angeles, reiterated that the carrier has not changed its policies with regards to service animals. However, Boda explained that, due to a number of high-profile past incidents, the carrier would now be “tightening” its policies on emotional support animals.
As stated on the carrier’s website, from July 1, “American will now enforce the existing 48-hour advanced notice and pre-clearance policy for emotional support animals, but will have procedures in place for emergency travel booked within 48 hours of departure.”
AA has also announced “additional restrictions on animal types, including insects, hedgehogs and goats.”
In addition to this, as Boda explains in the vodcast, passengers traveling with their emotional support animals will be required to sign a waiver, ensuring that their animal will behave properly in both the gate area and the cabin. Finally, explains Boda, additional training will be given to staff prior to July to ensure that team members are better equipped to handle cases involving support or service animals.
Prior to rolling out these new policies, AA consulted with multiple disability groups in order to ensure that the carrier’s new rules would both “protect our team members and our customers who have a real need for a trained service or support animal.”
My Blind Spot was one of the bodies consulted by American during its overview of it policies. During the vodcast, Albert Rizzi, the organization’s founder and chief executive, commended the changes made by the carrier. He thanked AA for its work in helping to ensure that those passengers who rely on service animals are able to “confidently fly safely” with the airline.
More information regarding the carrier’s stipulations on service and support animals is available to view here.