Go Back  FlyerTalk Forums > Miles&Points > Discontinued Programs/Partners > American Airlines | AAdvantage (Pre-Consolidation with USAir)
Reload this Page >

American Airlines Policy on Dogs in Main Cabin. Who To Write To?

American Airlines Policy on Dogs in Main Cabin. Who To Write To?

 

Old Sep 6, 14, 7:28 am
  #16  
 
Join Date: Jul 2010
Location: SFO
Programs: AA EXP
Posts: 5,269
Originally Posted by 3Cforme View Post
Lots of over-entitled people who may want to bring animals on-board free of charge will be stopped when they have to acknowledge having a mental health disability.
Eh, I personally know a few who have no qualms about that

(not to imply anything about the person in the OP's story, who probably had a completely legitimate need for his support dog)

Last edited by rjw242; Sep 6, 14 at 7:38 am
rjw242 is offline  
Old Sep 6, 14, 7:38 am
  #17  
 
Join Date: Jan 2000
Location: London; Bangkok; San Diego
Programs: AA ExPlat; UA MM Gold; Marriott Lifetime Platinum Premier Elite
Posts: 8,168
All the passenger has to do is say the animal is a service animal and they don't have to show anything to bring the animal on-board, without cost, and outside a carrier. It is far, far easier than claiming the animal is an emotional support animal.

The only thing the airline can do is ask the passenger what type of service the animal provides (they can't ask what health issue the passenger has) and as long as the answer is credible, the animal goes on board.

bdemaria, the ADA does not apply to airlines. It is the ACA, i.e., the Air Carrier Access Act.
Always Flyin is offline  
Old Sep 6, 14, 7:47 am
  #18  
FlyerTalk Evangelist
 
Join Date: May 2001
Location: LAX; AA EXP, MM; HH Gold
Posts: 31,790
Originally Posted by inpd View Post
This wasn't a guide dog, it was just a regular dog and the guy wasn't blind or old (in his 20's).
So, his disability wasn't obvious to you, but the implication is that had you been able to ascertain his disability (reason for the dog), then you would have tolerated it?

For all you know, he was a veteran who has returned from Iraq and/or Afghanistan, and the dog permits him to overcome his PTSD enough so he can travel by air.

Maybe he was just a dog-loving slacker and convinced a shady physician to write him the required note that he suffers from a mental or emotional disability so he can bring his big scary dog with him.

In either case, there is nothing you can do about it, so get used to it. And about not flying AA - that ain't gonna work unless you stop flying commercial and fly on private jets from now on.

Originally Posted by inpd View Post
Who do you write to, to complain about this. I had a dog hair allergy and if this is going to be common practice then adios AA. Of course no one wanted to swap seats with me ... The dog was scary looking
Next time, if nobody will switch seats, then off-load yourself and take a later flight.

Next time you reserve seats, stay far away from the economy bulkhead, because (as others pointed out), that's where the big scary dogs sit with their emotionally or mentally disabled humans. And bring some allergy medication, because in the scheme of things, nobody at the airline cares about your allergies.
FWAAA is offline  
Old Sep 6, 14, 7:48 am
  #19  
FlyerTalk Evangelist
 
Join Date: May 2002
Location: NYC, USA
Programs: AA EXP 3MM, Lifetime Platinum, SPG Gold, MR Gold, HH Gold
Posts: 10,428
While I am not a therapist, I still am not convinced that this "emotional support animal" business isn't an excuse to bring pets on board without a carrier or fee. But last month I was on a LAX-JFK flight in F where the guy behind me had a little chihuahua and spent the entire flight clutching it to his chest while cooing and talking sweetly to it. At one point, I struck up a conversation with the guy, and he said that the dog flies JFK-LAX-JFK at least twice a month with him, always in F, and has never had any trouble at all.

But.....was the chihuahua a pet or a support animal? The guy was treating it a lot like a pet.
ESpen36 is offline  
Old Sep 6, 14, 8:02 am
  #20  
 
Join Date: Oct 2011
Location: DFW
Programs: AA EXP - Marriott LT Platinum - National Exec Elite
Posts: 1,101
Originally Posted by ESpen36 View Post
While I am not a therapist, I still am not convinced that this "emotional support animal" business isn't an excuse to bring pets on board without a carrier or fee.
So as a non-expert, like others in this thread who've chimed in, you're just blindly stating an opinion, right?

OP- just because the animal wasn't wearing a service-dog vest, does not mean it was not a service animal. I work with an organization that takes rescue animals and trains them in several capacities that allow previously challenged folks to lead more meaningful lives.
reeg2 is offline  
Old Sep 6, 14, 8:10 am
  #21  
 
Join Date: Jun 2005
Location: MCO-The Mouse House
Programs: AA EXPlt, SPG Plt, Nat EE
Posts: 1,542
I don't argue that those that have legitimate needs deserve to have their trained service animals on the plane however I also have a right to safe travel. This means not being forced to sit next to animal that I'm allergic to. There has to be some fair middle ground. For example, why can't the airlines send an email to those in the neighboring rows to alert us 24 hours in advance? That way I can take medicine in advance, not be affected and not infringe on the other persons rights as well.
BigBopper is offline  
Old Sep 6, 14, 8:50 am
  #22  
FlyerTalk Evangelist
 
Join Date: Apr 2006
Location: SJC/VCE
Programs: AA PLT (2.9+ MM), HH GLD, Hyatt Diamond, SPG PLT
Posts: 10,159
Originally Posted by Always Flyin View Post
All the passenger has to do is say the animal is a service animal and they don't have to show anything to bring the animal on-board, without cost, and outside a carrier. It is far, far easier than claiming the animal is an emotional support animal.

The only thing the airline can do is ask the passenger what type of service the animal provides (they can't ask what health issue the passenger has) and as long as the answer is credible, the animal goes on board.

bdemaria, the ADA does not apply to airlines. It is the ACA, i.e., the Air Carrier Access Act.
sorry - typo, its fixed
bdemaria is offline  
Old Sep 6, 14, 8:55 am
  #23  
 
Join Date: Feb 2012
Location: BSL
Programs: AA (EXP); among others :)
Posts: 1,751
Originally Posted by 3Cforme View Post
Delta, for one, makes a clear distinction between service animals and emotional support animals, and outlines documentation requirements for the latter.
AA does that as well with pretty much the same language (check out the form). In a case I was personally involved with (a companion who wanted/needed to bring an ESAN) AA asked the mental health professional for additional information and a copy of their license before OKing the dog. The procedure was neither easy nor particularly cheap - in fact, for the average person, it's cheaper to pay the pet fee than for all that Dr. paperwork.
The same applies for service dogs - AA demands 'real' paperwork nowadays, and it all has to add up. The days where you could slap a service dog vest on an animal and show one of these downloaded-from-the-internet "certifications" to get it on an AA plane are long gone, if they ever existed.

Originally Posted by Always Flyin View Post
All the passenger has to do is say the animal is a service animal and they don't have to show anything to bring the animal on-board, without cost, and outside a carrier. It is far, far easier than claiming the animal is an emotional support animal.
The only thing the airline can do is ask the passenger what type of service the animal provides (they can't ask what health issue the passenger has) and as long as the answer is credible, the animal goes on board..
That is not true. AA asks for proper documentation, which includes a medical professional's 'prescription' in case of service dogs that serve a medical purpose like seizure alert dogs. Granted, this is more than the letter of the law requires...


Originally Posted by BigBopper View Post
I don't argue that those that have legitimate needs deserve to have their trained service animals on the plane however I also have a right to safe travel. This means not being forced to sit next to animal that I'm allergic to.
US lawmakers have decided this matter in favor of the animals, and US airlines choose to comply to the detriment of passengers like you. In other parts of the world, things are the other way around - at TK, if there's a passenger on a flight who claims a pet dander allergy in the same cabin as a passenger wishing to transport an in-cabin pet or service animal and backs that claim up with supporting medical documentation, the pax with the animal gets booted off the flight.

"Fair middle ground" - I've seen that at work with AA actually. GAs alerted potential seat neighbors about that they will be seated next to a service animal when they showed up at the gate and asked if they were OK with it or would they want to be reseated. Of course, with today's load factors often at 100% and ever more cramped seating configurations, that's not always possible and we end up with situations as described by the OP.
Personally, I'm all for making passengers with animals (as well as 'oversize' passengers) pay for a seat they plus the animal fit in without occupying their neighbor's space - be that two seats or a premium cabin seat.

Last edited by bhomburg; Sep 6, 14 at 9:10 am
bhomburg is offline  
Old Sep 6, 14, 8:58 am
  #24  
 
Join Date: Apr 2010
Posts: 958
Originally Posted by bdemaria View Post
its fixed
The typo, or the dog?
_kurt is offline  
Old Sep 6, 14, 9:11 am
  #25  
FlyerTalk Evangelist
 
Join Date: May 2001
Location: LAX; AA EXP, MM; HH Gold
Posts: 31,790
Originally Posted by BigBopper View Post
I don't argue that those that have legitimate needs deserve to have their trained service animals on the plane however I also have a right to safe travel. This means not being forced to sit next to animal that I'm allergic to. There has to be some fair middle ground. For example, why can't the airlines send an email to those in the neighboring rows to alert us 24 hours in advance? That way I can take medicine in advance, not be affected and not infringe on the other persons rights as well.
What would be the point?

Airlines are permitted to require 48 hours advance notice and documentation for emotional/psychiatric support animals, and theoretically, the airlines could send out emails.

What about the service dogs serving the blind and deaf and disabled? Those folks don't have to provide any advance notice to the airlines that they're bringing their dog, so there would be no way to provide advance notice to the allergic passengers. Would the allergic reactions be diminished because the dog was a traditional service dog serving a blind or deaf or physically disabled passenger? Do emotional support animals trigger more severe allergies?

See the logical inconsistency? If I were a cynical person, then I might conclude from reading the many posts on Flyertalk over the years that the "I'm allergic to animals" card might get played more often when the animal is serving an emotionally or mentally disabled person more often than when it's serving a more "traditional-looking" physically disabled person.

If you're allergic to animals, then bring medications to treat those allergies and/or be prepared to move to a different seat or, if that's impossible, consider taking a different flight. AA won't charge a change fee to accommodate an allergic passenger in such a circumstance.
FWAAA is offline  
Old Sep 6, 14, 9:11 am
  #26  
 
Join Date: Jan 2007
Location: Laguna Niguel, CA
Programs: AA PLT, 1.8mm
Posts: 6,967
Originally Posted by FWAAA View Post
Next time, if nobody will switch seats, then off-load yourself and take a later flight.
Not too long ago, I was bulkhead aisle (738) and a lady with a full grown German Shepherd sits in the center seat. I ask where the dog is going, she says "he can just sit there" pointing to the space in front of me. I inform her that's where my legs will be and there's no room for a German Shepherd. FA plays a quick game of musical chairs, and gets the other aisle person to switch so that the dog sits in the aisle the whole 3 hour flight. The dog was well behaved and I love dogs, but it was entertaining to watch the FAs have to step over the dog the entire flight. It did keep the coach pax from using the F lav though.
cynicAAl is offline  
Old Sep 6, 14, 9:18 am
  #27  
FlyerTalk Evangelist
 
Join Date: May 2001
Location: LAX; AA EXP, MM; HH Gold
Posts: 31,790
Originally Posted by bhomburg View Post
The same applies for service dogs - AA demands 'real' paperwork nowadays, and it all has to add up. The days where you could slap a service dog vest on an animal and show one of these downloaded-from-the-internet "certifications" to get it on an AA plane are long gone, if they ever existed.

That is not true. AA asks for proper documentation, which includes a medical professional's 'prescription' in case of service dogs that serve a medical purpose like seizure alert dogs. Granted, this is more than the letter of the law requires...
No, they don't.

There is no charge for service animals used by customers with disabilities. However, credible verbal assurance that the animal is providing a service to assist with a disability will suffice should an inquiry be made.
https://www.aa.com/i18n/travelInform...iceAnimals.jsp

Emotional Support Animals? Documentation is required.

Service Animal? No documentation is required.
FWAAA is offline  
Old Sep 6, 14, 10:52 am
  #28  
 
Join Date: Jun 2011
Location: DCA
Programs: AA EXP; BoNVoY Plat
Posts: 1,627
And there is also this:

If a service animal is disruptive or too large to fit under the seat or at the passenger's feet without encroaching on another passenger's space or protruding into the aisle, it will need to travel in a kennel (provided by the passenger) in the cargo hold.

So service dogs cannot (as indicated by the OP) encroach.
ckendall is offline  
Old Sep 6, 14, 11:56 am
  #29  
 
Join Date: Jul 2011
Programs: an inch longer than you. Seriously, this is BS just for bragging.
Posts: 1,150
if you DO need paperwork, I'm sure it would be easy to find some licensed quack to put someone under his "care" and "prescribe" the need for a service or support animal. Heck you can just go buy a service dog vest off ebay and slap it on Fido and poof, a service dog.

But with all the news about knee defenders, it would be interesting to see what would happen if a big scary looking dog was there when the person refused to remove their knee defender...
LovePrunes is offline  
Old Sep 6, 14, 11:57 am
  #30  
 
Join Date: Apr 2003
Location: DEN/BDL/LGA/HPN
Programs: Marriott Ambassador; AA EXP 2MM; AS MVP, Hilton Gold, CH-47/UH-60/C-23/C-130 VET
Posts: 5,110
Originally Posted by ESpen36 View Post
While I am not a therapist, I still am not convinced that this "emotional support animal" business isn't an excuse to bring pets on board without a carrier or fee. But last month I was on a LAX-JFK flight in F where the guy behind me had a little chihuahua and spent the entire flight clutching it to his chest while cooing and talking sweetly to it. At one point, I struck up a conversation with the guy, and he said that the dog flies JFK-LAX-JFK at least twice a month with him, always in F, and has never had any trouble at all.
In my experience, there seems to be a disproportionate number of dogs in F on the LAX-JFK route. Interestingly, I don't think I've ever seen one in Y or J.
C17PSGR is offline  

Thread Tools
Search this Thread