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Updated Airline Restrictions for Emotional Support Animals

Airlines Ban Emotional Support Animals

Gone are the days where you could fly freely with your emotional support animal, as most major airlines have recently implemented new federal rules and restrictions that no longer allow them to fly with you. 

For years, airline passengers have complained about badly trained and poorly behaved pets that have been cleared to fly as certified emotional support animals, and the Department of Transportation finally cracked down on the issue.

Service Animal By Definition

By the Department of Transportation’s definition, a service animal is “a dog, regardless of breed or type, that is individually trained to do work or perform tasks for the benefit of a qualified individual with a disability, including a physical, sensory, psychiatric, intellectual, or other mental disability.”

This new definition means that all emotional support animals in general – dogs, rabbits, reptiles, etc. – will no longer be allowed to fly without cost or a carrier.

What Has Changed For Airlines?

  • As of January 11th, airlines are no longer honoring new requests for emotional support animals.
  • These new regulations and definitions ultimately allow airlines to acknowledge emotional support animals as regular pets, as opposed to a trained service animal, meaning they can no longer fly at your feet. 
  • The Department of Transportation also established new guidelines to limit the number of service animals that can be brought onboard the plane, to two.

What Has Changed For You?

Most major airlines have put these new rules into effect, meaning that your next travel arrangements with your emotional support animal will be affected.

  1. Only trained service dogs are being allowed to fly without charge and without being in a carrier.
  2. Airlines are focused on the training and behaviors of a dog, so doctor’s notes and letters are no longer being accepted.
  3. You must fill out a DOT form at least 48 hours before your flight to confirm your dog’s health, training, and behavior. 
  4. If your pet starts to demonstrate any poor behaviors, airlines now reserve the right to treat it as a pet and you will be charged the appropriate fees.

Airpets America Can Assist

The way each airline is adopting and implementing these new policies varies across the industry, and it can ultimately become confusing and stressful as you begin making travel arrangements for yourself and your pet.

At Airpets America, we take all of the stress and complications out of relocating your emotional support animal. We have pet transportation experts with over 30 years of experience in relocating pets all over the world, so we know how to accommodate travel arrangements for all kinds of different pet breeds and locations. 

We are airline and governmental experts, and we are well versed in these new rules and regulations for emotional support animals. Are you looking to relocate soon? Contact us to get started!

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