Go Back  FlyerTalk Forums > Travel&Dining > TravelBuzz
Reload this Page >

The Definitive Discussion of Emotional Support Animals on Airlines

The Definitive Discussion of Emotional Support Animals on Airlines

    Hide Wikipost
Old Jan 10, 21, 1:44 am   -   Wikipost
Please read: This is a community-maintained wiki post containing the most important information from this thread. You may edit the Wiki once you have been on FT for 90 days and have made 90 posts.
 
Last edit by: StartinSanDiego
Wiki Link
THIS THREAD IS NOW ARCHIVED. PLEASE CONTINUE THE DISCUSSION HERE: https://www.flyertalk.com/forum/trav...1-onwards.html


Service and Support Animals (Updated)


Wednesday, December 2, 2020WASHINGTON – The U.S. Department of Transportation today announced that it is revising its Air Carrier Access Act (ACAA) regulation on the transportation of service animals by air to ensure a safe and accessible air transportation system. The final rule on Traveling by Air with Service Animals can be found HERE.

The Department received more than 15,000 comments on the notice of proposed rulemaking. 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.

The final rule:
  • Defines a service animal as a dog that is individually trained to do work or perform tasks for the benefit of a person with a disability;
  • No longer considers an emotional support animal to be a service animal;
  • Requires airlines to treat psychiatric service animals the same as other service animals;
  • Allows airlines to require forms developed by DOT attesting to a service animal’s health, behavior and training, and if taking a long flight attesting that the service animal can either not relieve itself, or can relieve itself in a sanitary manner;
  • Allows airlines to require individuals traveling with a service animal to provide the DOT service animal form(s) up to 48 hours in advance of the date of travel if the passenger’s reservation was made prior to that time;
  • Prohibits airlines from requiring passengers with a disability who are traveling with a service animal to physically check-in at the airport instead of using the online check-in process;
  • Allows airlines to require a person with a disability seeking to travel with a service animal to provide the DOT service animal form(s) at the passenger’s departure gate on the date of travel;
  • Allows airlines to limit the number of service animals traveling with a single passenger with a disability to two service animals;
  • Allows airlines to require a service animal to fit within its handler’s foot space on the aircraft;
  • Allows airlines to require that service animals be harnessed, leashed, or tethered at all times in the airport and on the aircraft;
  • Continues to allow airlines to refuse transportation to service animals that exhibit aggressive behavior and that pose a direct threat to the health or safety of others; and
  • Continues to prohibit airlines from refusing to transport a service animal solely based on breed.
The final rule will be effective 30 days after date of publication in the Federal Register.
Previous rule:

The main requirements of Part 382 regarding service animals are:

• Carriers shall permit dogs and other service animals used by persons with disabilities to accompany the persons on a flight. See section 382.55(a)(1–2).—Carriers shall accept as evidence that an animal is a service animal identifiers such as identification cards, other written documentation, presence of harnesses, tags or the credible verbal assurances of a qualified individual with a disability using the animal.
—Carriers shall permit a service animal to accompany a qualified individual with a disability in any seat in which the person sits, unless the animal obstructs an aisle or other area that must remain unobstructed in order to facilitate an emergency evacuation or to comply with FAA regulations.

• If a service animal cannot be accommodated at the seat location of the qualified individual with a disability whom the animal is accompanying, the carrier shall offer the passenger the opportunity to move with the animal to a seat location in the same class of service, if present on the aircraft, where the animal can be accommodated, as an alternative to requiring that the animal travel in the cargo hold (see section 382.37(c)).

• Carriers shall not impose charges for providing facilities, equipment, or services that are required by this part to be provided to qualified individuals with a disability (see section 382.57).



To determine whether an animal is a service animal and should be allowed to accompany its user in the cabin, airline personnel should:

1. Establish whether the animal is a pet or a service animal, and whether the passenger is a qualified individual with a disability; and then
2. Determine if the service animal presents either
• a ‘‘direct threat to the health or safety of others,’’ or
• a significant threat of disruption to the airline service in the cabin (i.e. a ‘‘fundamental alteration’’ to passenger service). See 382.7(c).

full text can be found: here.



United policy on Emotional Support Animals: https://hub.united.com/united-emotio...530539164.html

Delta policy on Emotional Support Animals: https://www.delta.com/content/www/en...e-animals.html

American Airlines policy on Emotional Support Animals: https://www.aa.com/i18n/travel-info/...ce-animals.jsp

Print Wikipost

Old Dec 30, 20, 9:08 am
  #631  
 
Join Date: Sep 2002
Location: LAX
Programs: AA PLT / 2MM
Posts: 2,021
Originally Posted by TGarza View Post
Multiple websites offer ESA letters with no physical exam required.
Yes, I've mentioned you can buy an ESA letter online. They're still signed by a licensed mental health "professional." ( You think they're signed by a plumber or an HVAC guy? ;-) ) The point is that there's no way for "airlines to start requiring a license / license number from a specific kind of health professional" -- because they already do.
LAX_Esq is offline  
Old Dec 30, 20, 10:09 am
  #632  
 
Join Date: Sep 2013
Posts: 419
Originally Posted by LAX_Esq View Post
Yes, I've mentioned you can buy an ESA letter online. They're still signed by a licensed mental health "professional." ( You think they're signed by a plumber or an HVAC guy? ;-) ) The point is that there's no way for "airlines to start requiring a license / license number from a specific kind of health professional" -- because they already do.
ESA using an online application with no medical visit even virtually doesn’t require a licensed mental health professional.
TGarza is offline  
Old Dec 30, 20, 10:13 am
  #633  
A FlyerTalk Posting Legend
 
Join Date: Sep 2009
Location: Minneapolis: DL DM charter 2.3MM
Programs: A3*Gold, SPG Plat, HyattDiamond, MarriottPP, LHW exAccess, ICI, Raffles Amb, NW PE MM, TWA Gold MM
Posts: 91,911
The recent DL incident of the two passengers (one who supposedly had PTSD as the result of serving time in prison) and an ESA or psychiatric service dog doing down the slide while the aircraft was moving toward the runway would seem to suggest that these dogs aren't necessarily effective.
MSPeconomist is offline  
Old Dec 30, 20, 11:22 am
  #634  
 
Join Date: Sep 2002
Location: LAX
Programs: AA PLT / 2MM
Posts: 2,021
Originally Posted by TGarza View Post
ESA using an online application with no medical visit even virtually doesn’t require a licensed mental health professional.
A licensed mental health professional signs the letter you pay for -- whether or not you even meet with them for 2 minutes virtually.
LAX_Esq is offline  
Old Dec 31, 20, 8:32 am
  #635  
 
Join Date: Sep 2013
Posts: 419
Originally Posted by LAX_Esq View Post
A licensed mental health professional signs the letter you pay for -- whether or not you even meet with them for 2 minutes virtually.
Like the robosinging of mortgage documents which were not exactly reviewed or examined which were later determined to be invalid
TGarza is offline  
Old Dec 31, 20, 9:39 am
  #636  
 
Join Date: Sep 2002
Location: LAX
Programs: AA PLT / 2MM
Posts: 2,021
Originally Posted by TGarza View Post
Like the robosinging of mortgage documents which were not exactly reviewed or examined which were later determined to be invalid
Not sure what your point is, other than preaching to the choir that ESA letters you buy online are BS. But the point is that they're signed by a licensed mental health professional. Therefore, the poster who said he'd "be curious if airlines start requiring a license / license number from a specific kind of health professional" as a way to crack down on abuse isn't offering a solution -- because they already require that.
LAX_Esq is offline  
Old Dec 31, 20, 1:23 pm
  #637  
 
Join Date: Dec 2020
Posts: 16
This entire issue is beginning to become moot. Airlines, beginning with Alaska Airlines are banning ESA. This will commence in January, however, reservations for flights through February 11 will be allowed to have ESA's. Afterwards, none are allowed. it's about time. This has long been known to be a dodge to allow travelers to avoid paying for transporting their pets.
skunkman is offline  
Old Dec 31, 20, 1:46 pm
  #638  
 
Join Date: Sep 2002
Location: LAX
Programs: AA PLT / 2MM
Posts: 2,021
Originally Posted by skunkman View Post
This entire issue is beginning to become moot. Airlines, beginning with Alaska Airlines are banning ESA. This will commence in January, however, reservations for flights through February 11 will be allowed to have ESA's. Afterwards, none are allowed. it's about time. This has long been known to be a dodge to allow travelers to avoid paying for transporting their pets.
Did you read the last 10-15 posts? The issue is not becoming moot because the PSAs are the new ESAs.
LAX_Esq is offline  
Old Jan 1, 21, 5:45 am
  #639  
 
Join Date: May 2015
Location: South Florida
Programs: DL Skymiles KE Skypass
Posts: 1,626
I will bring this up again as I think I asked this question earlier. If the airline allows a passenger to bring a pet on board in the cabin that the pet's transportation fee is paid for, the pet is contained in an approved carrier without being let out during flight, and does not create an uncomfortable smell/noise situation, do you have a problem with that?

I wouldn't have a problem with it, but it is my belief that if you go on vacation and you want to bring your pet, you should go somewhere you can drive to, versus fly to. Less stress on the pet and less stress for you having to maintain the pet inside a carrier.
teddybear99 is offline  
Old Jan 1, 21, 7:24 am
  #640  
 
Join Date: Dec 2020
Posts: 16
Originally Posted by LAX_Esq View Post
Did you read the last 10-15 posts? The issue is not becoming moot because the PSAs are the new ESAs.
skunkman is offline  
Old Jan 1, 21, 7:26 am
  #641  
 
Join Date: Dec 2020
Posts: 16
I did. these are included in Alaska's new policy. It's about time this abuse was ended. Understand that if the airlines charged the same fee for these animals as they did to transport them not in the main cabin, you'd have FAR ,FAR fewer of these animals flying.
skunkman is offline  
Old Jan 1, 21, 7:31 am
  #642  
 
Join Date: Sep 2002
Location: LAX
Programs: AA PLT / 2MM
Posts: 2,021
Originally Posted by teddybear99 View Post
I will bring this up again as I think I asked this question earlier. If the airline allows a passenger to bring a pet on board in the cabin that the pet's transportation fee is paid for, the pet is contained in an approved carrier without being let out during flight, and does not create an uncomfortable smell/noise situation, do you have a problem with that?

I wouldn't have a problem with it, but it is my belief that if you go on vacation and you want to bring your pet, you should go somewhere you can drive to, versus fly to. Less stress on the pet and less stress for you having to maintain the pet inside a carrier.
I can't speak for everyone, but I assume there's a range of viewpoints -- from posters who are repulsed by dogs and don't want any dogs in the cabin, period... to posters who would rather have small, cute, well-behaved dogs who follow all the rules on board than many of the degenerate, reprobate humans who make it on board... to everything in between.

Separately, I don't know if it's appropriate to negatively judge everybody who is bringing their pets on board as being unfair to the animal. I agree that people should consider the stress levels that flying will put on their pets and not be selfish. But some pet flying is going to be inevitable, like if someone is flying across the country because they're moving or on a long-term assignment. Also, if someone's going to visit relatives who are too far to drive and would otherwise have to board the dog, perhaps it's better for the dog to deal with the stress of flying than be stuck in cage for days. These are just a couple examples that come to mind. I don't think we can look at everyone flying with a dog and deem them cruel to their pets and selfish.
LAX_Esq is offline  
Old Jan 1, 21, 7:33 am
  #643  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Sep 2009
Location: Global
Posts: 5,130
Originally Posted by teddybear99 View Post
I will bring this up again as I think I asked this question earlier. If the airline allows a passenger to bring a pet on board in the cabin that the pet's transportation fee is paid for, the pet is contained in an approved carrier without being let out during flight, and does not create an uncomfortable smell/noise situation, do you have a problem with that?

I wouldn't have a problem with it, but it is my belief that if you go on vacation and you want to bring your pet, you should go somewhere you can drive to, versus fly to. Less stress on the pet and less stress for you having to maintain the pet inside a carrier.
FWIW - No, I have no problem with pets left in the carrier under the seat. Airlines deserve to make a profit where they can. I also agree in most cases pets should not fly. (Real service animals excluded.) Charging a fee is a good way to keep that in check.

As I stated earlier, I do believe this is a good first step. I have no doubt people will abuse this as they did before, maybe even more, as no 'official' letter is required. The airlines and other passengers will (rightfully) complain and DOT will tighten the restrictions. I also accept this will be a long process. Perhaps years, with the regs getting tighter over time.
Global321 is online now  
Old Jan 1, 21, 7:33 am
  #644  
 
Join Date: Sep 2002
Location: LAX
Programs: AA PLT / 2MM
Posts: 2,021
Originally Posted by skunkman View Post
I did. these are included in Alaska's new policy. It's about time this abuse was ended. Understand that if the airlines charged the same fee for these animals as they did to transport them not in the main cabin, you'd have FAR ,FAR fewer of these animals flying.
You obviously didn't read the posts about PSAs.
LAX_Esq is offline  
Old Jan 1, 21, 7:38 am
  #645  
 
Join Date: Sep 2002
Location: LAX
Programs: AA PLT / 2MM
Posts: 2,021
Originally Posted by Global321 View Post
As I stated earlier, I do believe this is a good first step. I have no doubt people will abuse this as they did before, maybe even more, as no 'official' letter is required. The airlines and other passengers will (rightfully) complain and DOT will tighten the restrictions. I also accept this will be a long process. Perhaps years, with the regs getting tighter over time.
Now I think I see your point. You weren't saying that the new rule is more sensible and will result in less abuse. You're saying that even dumber rules and more abuse and more absurdity is going to push things over the top and cause them to blow up and reverse course.... Fair point, but it may be a long process as you say.
SPN Lifer and Global321 like this.
LAX_Esq is offline  

Thread Tools
Search this Thread
Search Engine: