American Tightens Service Animal Policies, Bans 13 Types of Animals
This post contains references to products from one or more of our advertisers. We may receive compensation when you click on links to those products. Terms apply to the offers listed on this page. For an explanation of our Advertising Policy, visit this page.
In mid-January, Delta cracked down on service and emotional support animals. In early February, United also imposed new restrictions after a passenger tried to bring a peacock on board as an emotional support animal. And then in April, Alaska tightened its own emotional support animal policy. But, there’s been an eerie quiet from American Airlines in the months since. Today, the world’s largest carrier broke that silence.
American Airlines announced on Monday a comprehensive set of new restrictions on both service animals and emotional support animals for flights ticketed after July 1, 2018. Starting then, 13 types of animals will be banned and new emotional support animal restrictions will require passengers to consent to sharing medical records with the airline.
Limits on Service Animals and Emotional Support Animals
The following types of animals will no longer be permitted to travel as service or emotional support animals:
- Sugar gliders
- Non-household birds (farm poultry, waterfowl, game birds and birds of prey)
- Animals with tusks, horns or hooves (excluding miniature horses properly trained as service animals)
- Any animal that is unclean / has an odor
Also, service animals and emotional support animals “must be able to fit at your feet, under your seat or in your lap.” The animal can’t “protrude into or block aisles” or “occupy a seat.” And exit row seats won’t be an option for those with large service animals as “you won’t be able to sit in an exit row when traveling with your service or emotional / psychiatric support animal.”
In addition, emotional support animals and service animals “must be trained to behave properly in public; they must be tethered by leash and / or harness and under your control at all times.” Animals that display any of the following will be banned from the cabin: “growling; biting or attempting to bite; jumping on or lunging at people”
Further Limits on Emotional Support Animals
In addition to the above restrictions, if you’re planning to travel with an emotional support animal, you must file paperwork with American Airlines at least 48 hours before your flight — a rule the DOT allows airlines to enforce. Currently, American Airlines requires a one-page ESA form that must be signed by your mental health professional. For tickets issued on or after July 1, 2018, American Airlines is requiring a three-form packet to be filled out:
- Mental Health Professional Form
- Behavior Guidelines
- Animal Sanitation During 8+ Hours Form (only required if your flight is scheduled to be more than 8 hours).
American notes that “documentation validation will include American Airlines contacting your mental health professional.” Indeed, the new ESA “Behavior Guidelines” form requires passengers to consent to “collecting and processing personal information, including medical information, for use in authorizing travel with the emotional support animal.”
The form also requires that the passenger agree to “reimburse American Airlines for any such loss, damage, or expense” in the case the animal “exhibits any unsafe, untrained or inappropriate behavior” or violates any of the other listed rules.
American says that the number of its customers traveling with a service or support animal has increased more than 40% from 2016 to 2017.
Featured image by Getty Images
Welcome to The Points Guy!
Earn 90,000 bonus miles and 10,000 Medallion® Qualification Miles (MQMs) after you spend $3,000 in purchases on your new card in the first three months of card membership. Offer ends 11/10/2021.
With Status Boost™, earn 10,000 Medallion Qualification Miles (MQMs) after you spend $25,000 in purchases on your Card in a calendar year, up to two times per year getting you closer to Medallion Status. Earn 3X Miles on Delta purchases and purchases made directly with hotels, 2X Miles at restaurants and at U.S. supermarkets and earn 1X Mile on all other eligible purchases. Terms Apply.
- Limited Time Offer: Earn 90,000 Bonus Miles and 10,000 Medallion® Qualification Miles (MQMs) after you spend $3,000 in purchases on your new Card in your first 3 months. Offer expires 11/10/2021.
- Earn up to 20,000 Medallion® Qualification Miles (MQMs) with Status Boost® per year. After you spend $25,000 in purchases on your Card in a calendar year, you can earn 10,000 MQMs two times per year, getting you closer to Medallion® Status. MQMs are used to determine Medallion® Status and are different than miles you earn toward flights.
- Earn 3X Miles on Delta purchases and purchases made directly with hotels.
- Earn 2X Miles at restaurants worldwide, including takeout and delivery and at U.S. supermarkets.
- Earn 1X Miles on all other eligible purchases.
- Receive a Domestic Main Cabin round-trip companion certificate each year upon renewal of your Card. *Payment of the government imposed taxes and fees of no more than $75 for roundtrip domestic flights (for itineraries with up to four flight segments) is required. Baggage charges and other restrictions apply. See terms and conditions for details.
- Enjoy your first checked bag free on Delta flights.
- Fee Credit for Global Entry or TSA Pre✓®.
- Enjoy an exclusive rate of $39 per person per visit to enter the Delta Sky Club® for you and up to two guests when traveling on a Delta flight.
- No Foreign Transaction Fees.
- $250 Annual Fee.
- Terms Apply.
- See Rates & Fees