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Traveling with an Emotional Support/Service animal on UA Q&A [CONSOLIDATED]

Traveling with an Emotional Support/Service animal on UA Q&A [CONSOLIDATED]

Old Dec 24, 14, 6:37 am
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Traveling with an Emotional Support/Service animal on UA Q&A [CONSOLIDATED]

On a recent flight, a couple boarded with two dogs. One of them was some kind of poodle-sized thing, the other one I could not identify at all. Upon boarding, the FA asked if these were service animals, and the woman responded "Yes, both are". That was the extent of the questioning, there was no proof asked for, no documents checked or anything like that.

The little dog then fell asleep on his?her? owner's lap. Problem is, the damn thing would get startled by people walking past, and would start barking and attack the passerby. The dog attempted to bite at least one pax and one FA, though due to its small size and because it couldn't quite escape its sleeping owner's grasp it didn't seem to do any damage.

Is this SOP, or was this an oversight? Between this and the "emotional support pig" on a domestic flight a while ago, shouldn't there be some kind of proof required if you're going to bring a pet on as a service animal?
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Old Dec 24, 14, 6:40 am
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Nope federal law states people do not have provide information on the service dogs they bring on the plane. At most the United reps can ask "what service does the dog provide?"

It's reached the point where it is just a way to avoid paying the pet fee.
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Old Dec 24, 14, 6:45 am
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My dog reminds me when I need to take my pills =) What does your dog do? Completely agree with OP... it is getting to be a little ridiculous.
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Old Dec 24, 14, 6:46 am
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There's also no central certification body or standardized certification requirements as to what makes a "service dog."

Several of ours have AKC Advanced Canine Good Citizen certification, but that just means they have passed tests showing they behave properly in public. FWIW, we've paid the $75, then $100, now $150 or whatever it is one-way every time we've traveled with a cabin pet.
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Old Dec 24, 14, 7:44 am
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Actually, United does have requirements for service animals and emotional support animals. Weather they choose to follow them maybe a different story.

http://www.united.com/web/en-US/cont...e_animals.aspx
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Old Dec 24, 14, 7:52 am
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Originally Posted by itsMoe View Post
.....shouldn't there be some kind of proof required if you're going to bring a pet on as a service animal?
Agree.

IMHO, proof could include:
1. Being blind or deaf,
2. Being mobility impaired, and
3. Having proper documentation.....that's it.

From the Americans With Disabilites (ada) website:
You may exclude any animal, including a service animal, from your facility when that animal's behavior poses a direct threat to the health or safety of others. For example, any service animal that displays vicious behavior towards other guests or customers may be excluded.

First time the little lap dog snapped a pax it should have been locked up.
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Old Dec 24, 14, 8:30 am
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Originally Posted by KBMIFlyer View Post
Actually, United does have requirements for service animals and emotional support animals. Weather they choose to follow them maybe a different story.

http://www.united.com/web/en-US/cont...e_animals.aspx
Interesting. If you read the page it basically says there is no documentation required for a service animal, except for what may be required for various international destinations to comply with local laws.

For therapy or emotional support animals, documentation from a health professional is required to be submitted to United at least 48 hours in advance.
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Old Dec 24, 14, 8:41 am
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A service dog is supposed to be low key and non-reactive to people and things around them. I saw this one dog on my flight; based on the way it acted, I'd be shocked if it was an actual service dog.
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Old Dec 24, 14, 9:20 am
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I wonder whether an individual on a flight, who was affected by an animal that was "claimed" to be a service animal, but really wasn't, would be able to sue the owner for negligence/infliction of emotional distress or something else based on the fact that it was actually "unlawful" to have the animal since it wasn't really a service animal? There would be no ADA defense because you are suing the owner, not the airline.
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Old Dec 24, 14, 9:57 am
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Originally Posted by sbrower
I wonder whether an individual on a flight, who was affected by an animal that was "claimed" to be a service animal, but really wasn't, would be able to sue the owner for negligence/infliction of emotional distress or something else based on the fact that it was actually "unlawful" to have the animal since it wasn't really a service animal? There would be no ADA defense because you are suing the owner, not the airline.
IIED and NIED are the red headed step-children of torts, everyone pleads them nobody wins them. You have better odds of hitting the pick-six than winning one of those claims.
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Old Dec 24, 14, 10:28 am
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Any pets shall be placed in their bag and stored appropriately. Or As I read the link above be at the passenger's feet.

FA's were not following SOP.
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Old Dec 24, 14, 10:33 am
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Originally Posted by itsMoe View Post
On a recent flight, a couple boarded with two dogs. One of them was some kind of poodle-sized thing, the other one I could not identify at all. Upon boarding, the FA asked if these were service animals, and the woman responded "Yes, both are". That was the extent of the questioning, there was no proof asked for, no documents checked or anything like that.

<snip>

Is this SOP, or was this an oversight? Between this and the "emotional support pig" on a domestic flight a while ago, shouldn't there be some kind of proof required if you're going to bring a pet on as a service animal?
The passenger provided whatever "proof" was necessary to the gate agents, not to the flight attendants. FAs have no training to screen for legitimate or illegitimate service animals and have no business asking anyone for such "proof."

Originally Posted by sbrower View Post
I wonder whether an individual on a flight, who was affected by an animal that was "claimed" to be a service animal, but really wasn't, would be able to sue the owner for negligence/infliction of emotional distress or something else based on the fact that it was actually "unlawful" to have the animal since it wasn't really a service animal? There would be no ADA defense because you are suing the owner, not the airline.
The ADA is inapplicable - the relevant statute is the Air Carrier Access Act.

And yes, I'm sure the ACAA permits fellow passengers to sue the mentally and emotionally disabled passenger for infliction of emotional distress for bringing their emotional support animal with them.



It's federal law. It's not United's fault. Don't like it? Call your Representative and Senators.
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Old Dec 24, 14, 10:34 am
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Originally Posted by colpuck View Post
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IIED and NIED are the red headed step-children of torts, everyone pleads them nobody wins them. You have better odds of hitting the pick-six than winning one of those claims.
You are partly correct. In fact, at least in California, NIED barely exists. But it depends on how good a job you do of pleading and how lucky you get with the judge and how good your strategy is.

I will tell you a little "war story" (from early in my career) to illustrate my point. Client says that the little dogs, in a nearby apartment, bark constantly when the owner is away, because they are lonely. When the owner gets home, and when people complain, the owner says "You are wrong, they are wonderful." Well, that's because when the owner is home the dogs are happy. Client wants me to sue them for noise problems. I tell them that we need to do a better job and I have a strategy. I file the lawsuit with NO request for a TRO just saying that noisy dogs are a nuisance and asking for money damages. We have the suit served on the dog owner. Then, over the next 30 days, I have the clients carefully log the dog noise. Only then do we do to court for a Prelim Injunction saying "We even tried to file a lawsuit, but in the 30 days since the lawsuit was filed the dogs were noisy during the following times: xxxxx." The opposing party appears through counsel and asks for additional time to gather evidence to oppose our declarations. The judge gives them until the following day. The next day we go back and they have 3 or 4 people who say "I walk my dogs past the apartment in question and I don't think that the dogs are barking unreasonably." About 30 seconds later I knew I was going to win, and get my injunction against the dogs staying in the apartment when the old judge, having read their witness declarations, looks over his glasses and says to opposing counsel "Oh, I see, your witnesses are all dog owners also." If you get lucky and get a judge who sees the case your way, it can make a big difference.
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Old Dec 24, 14, 10:37 am
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[/QUOTE] The ADA is inapplicable - the relevant statute is the Air Carrier Access Act.[/quote]

And yes, I'm sure the ACAA permits fellow passengers to sue the mentally and emotionally disabled passenger for infliction of emotional distress for bringing their emotional support animal with them.



It's federal law. It's not United's fault. Don't like it? Call your Representative and Senators.[/QUOTE]

I typed too fast when I said ADA instead of ACCA. But I think you did too (or at least you didn't read my comment carefully.) I was talking about suing fellow passengers who are NOT "mentally and emotionally disabled" but who fraudulently bring their pets onto airplanes, to the detriment of the other passenger, by lying to the agent. The fact that the law says that the AGENT isn't allowed to question their assertion doesn't mean that they are immune from liability to the other passengers.

Last edited by goalie; Dec 24, 14 at 3:33 pm Reason: fixed bb code
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Old Dec 24, 14, 12:49 pm
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It won't change until some Senator gets pee'd on in First Class, then we can expect something to be done about it.

I have seen it abused more and more in the last year. It is a real shame because those that truly need a service dog are the ones that suffer the most.

Be warned not to complain about the dog or any allergies because YOU will be removed from the flight!
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