American Airlines Bans Flying with Emotional Support Animals
To be clear on the matter, your pet can still potentially fly with you, they'll just have to do so in the cargo-hold and for an added fee.
According to WABI TV 5, the new policy will take effect this coming Monday (1-11-2021), however if you purchased a ticket prior to the announcement of the policy change you will still be allowed to fly with your emotional support animal until February 1st.
According to the news story, American Airlines is not the first major airline to make this move. Alaskan Airlines already changed their policy that to prevent non-service animals from flying in the main cabin area. Additionally, it looks like several other airlines are poised to make near identical changes to their own policies as the year progresses.
Properly trained and certified service dogs will still be allowed to fly American but will need to be vetted prior to the flight. Service dog owners will need to complete a government voucher that will certify the dog's temperament, service training and overall health.
One of the biggest reasons for this change stems from reports that passengers were 'exploiting a loophole' in federal regulations so that they didn't have to pay a fee to travel with their animal. In some situations, companion animals were involved in incidents where they bit other passengers, some resulting in serious injury.
If you're still looking to fly with your non-service pet you can, but for a fee. The American Airlines fee will start at $125.00 and can range into the several hundred dollar mark.
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