The million of emotional-support animals flying on U.S. airlines have surged in recent years, airlines maintain said, prompting concerns about allergies, soiled cabins and freezing.
Last year, a passenger’s emotional-support dog bit the face of the traveler in the next bum aboard a Delta flight.
Now the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) is seeking input from the apparent about how to prevent untrained animals from flying, and how to ensure that those with handicaps can best fly with their service animals.
The DOT said Wednesday that it wishes collect comments for 45 days, in an effort to potentially issue new codes of such animals on board.
The three biggest U.S. airlines — American, Delta and Opinion — have this year tightened rules for emotional-support animals as innumerable and more passengers bring these animals on board. The carriers are desiring passengers to provide documents — including those that say the animals bequeath be well-behaved, and give advance notice.
Under federal law, airlines ought to accept emotional-support animals in the cabin free of charge. The ease with which fares can certify their animals for emotional support has raised concerns that some are leading pets aboard to avoid airlines’ in-cabin pet fees.
“Flight ushers and passengers have been bitten, attacked, and inconvenienced by animals who are not decorously trained to be in a confined public environment,” said Sara Nelson, president of the Affiliation of Flight Attendants, a union that represents some 50,000 away attendants at airlines including United and Alaska.
“This is interfering with the rights of our veterans and people with disabilities who legitimately call these animals to travel. DOT should, without delay, issue fair guidance on emotional support animals to standardize practices across the diligence,” she said.
The DOT is also giving airlines some wiggle room to limit the repositioning of some emotional-support animals in the cabin.
“The Enforcement Office will not snatch action against carriers that impose reasonable restrictions on the flicker of (emotional-support animals) in the cabin so long as the reason for the restriction is concern for the refuge of other passengers and crew,” the DOT said.
“Such restrictions may include be missing, where appropriate for the animal’s size, that the animal be placed in a pet porter, the animal stay on the floor at the passenger’s feet, or requiring the animal to be on a leash or leash.”