For a long time, passengers in the USA had the right to take any animal into the cabin claiming it is an emotional support animal. A survey among flight attendants showed rampant abuse of this right.
However, the US Department of Transportation (DOT) has finally taken action by revising its Air Carrier Access Act (ACAA) regulation on the transportation of service animals by air. Emotional support animals are no longer allowed, only service animals.
The new 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 2 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, both 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.
* Continues to prohibit airlines from refusing to transport a service animal solely
based on breed.
Tags: service animals, emotional support animals