A brand new rule permits airways within the US to ban emotional assist animals from driving within the cabin, ending a system that led to the whole lot from turtles to pigs, snakes, and even turkeys driving alongside their homeowners.
Final 12 months, the Division of Transportation issued guidance stating that canines, cats, and miniature horses could possibly be accepted as service animals for transport — however on Wednesday, the company reversed course, announcing that solely canines are to be thought of official service animals on industrial flights after passengers scammed the system to move “uncommon” pets within the cabin.
Underneath the revised rule, which takes impact in 30 days, airways will now not be required to think about emotional assist pets as service animals. Solely a canine who’s “individually skilled to do work or carry out duties for the good thing about an individual with a incapacity” could be thought of a service animal, the rule states. All others must be checked into the cargo maintain — probably for a price.
The Division of Transportation stated the revision was prompted by disruptions brought on by “uncommon species of animals” on flights, which “eroded the general public belief in official service animals.”
The company additionally stated there had been a rise within the variety of passengers “fraudulently representing their pets as service animals,” just for them to then misbehave in the course of the flight.
Airways have lengthy complained that passengers have exploited obscure guidelines and lack of regulation round service animals by claiming they want their pets for emotional assist on flights.
In 2018, United Airways refused to let a girl fly along with her emotional support peacock, Dexter, even after she had bought a separate seat for him.
Earlier that 12 months, a 21-year-old girl admitted to flushing her “doctor-certified” comfort hamster down an airport bathroom after Spirit Airways refused to let the hamster board the flight.
In 2016, a person flew along with his emotional support duck on a flight. And in 2014, a passenger was kicked off a US Airways flight after his emotional support pig pooped within the cabin.
Passengers have additionally been seen with “consolation turkeys, gliding possums often called sugar gliders, snakes, spiders, and extra,” in line with Delta, which cracked down on emotional assist animals in 2018. The airline additionally banned “pit bull type” dogs as service or assist animals.
Nevertheless, below Division of Transportation guidelines, airways are prohibited from banning service canines based mostly solely on their breeds.