American Airlines is the latest carrier to crack down on emotional support animals. The company announced changes to its rules for customers who wish to bring pets on flights. Now passengers will have to give at least 48 hours’ notice about their emotional support animal. They will also have to submit ample documentation about the pet’s role and its ability to hold its cool (and bladder) during a long flight.
These are all common-sense rules, and they come as more cities try to tighten the regulations for service animals. PBS reported last year about numerous states that are introducing legislation to make the process of getting a pet approved for this designation more rigorous. “Today, any pet owner can go online and buy a vest for a dog to pass it off as a service animal to gain access to restaurants, hotels and places of business,” Republican state Rep. Kimberly Ferguson told PBS.
American joins other U.S. carriers—including United, Delta, and Alaska—that have changed the rules about which animals are considered appropriate as flight companions. American’s new rules also include certain animals that are not allowed. They include: amphibians, ferrets, goats, hedgehogs, insects, reptiles, rodents, snakes, spiders, and sugar gliders.
So while the intent of the new rules is to crack down on misbehaving pets that serve no medical purpose, this will also likely lead to decreased occurrences of Snakes On A Plane.