American Airlines joins Alaska in banning emotional support 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.
Pet peacocks are no longer cleared to fly in the cabin on American Airlines.
On Tuesday, Fort Worth-based American became the latest U.S. carrier to ban most emotional support animals from the cabin. The change goes into effect on Monday, Jan. 11, but customers with existing tickets can travel under the old rules through Feb. 1.
Beginning on Feb. 1, only trained service dogs will be allowed in the cabin for free, after flyers complete an electronic Department of Transportation (DOT) form attesting to the dog’s behavior, training and health. The declaration must be completed two days before the flight unless the reservation is booked at the last minute.
After successful submission, the form will be valid for one year or the expiration of the animal’s vaccinations, whichever is earlier.
Non-service animals can fly in a kennel underneath your seat for a pet fee of $125. Note that some destinations don’t allow pet travel, and American has stopped checking pets in the cargo hold, due to pandemic-related flight changes.
American’s announcement comes on the heels of the DOT’s December ruling on emotional support animals. The government agency announced that a “service animal” is defined as one that is “individually trained to do work or perform tasks for the benefit of a person with a disability.”
The DOT no longer requires airlines to make the same accommodations for emotional support animals as it does for trained service dogs. The DOT effectively narrowed the scope of what’s considered a “service animal” to a dog.
That means that American Airlines’ flyers won’t be able to bring emotional support pigs, peacocks, cats, or any of the other animals that used to grace the U.S. skies.
In recent years, there’s been a meteoric rise in the number of emotional support animals flying in the cabin with their owner. All it took was a doctor’s note to be cleared to fly for free, opening a robust black market for emotional support animal letters.
Alaska Airlines became the first carrier to adopt the updated DOT guidance. Over the holidays, the Seattle-based carrier announced revisions to its service animal policy that largely mirror those unveiled on Tuesday by American Airlines.
And now, it’s likely only a matter of time before the remaining U.S. carriers make similar moves.
Featured photo by Zach Griff/The Points Guy
Welcome to The Points Guy!
Earn 50,000 bonus miles and 5,000 Medallion® Qualification Miles (MQMs) after you spend $2,000 in purchases on your new card in the first three months of card membership. Plus, earn up to $100 back in statement credits for eligible purchases at U.S. restaurants in the first three months of card membership.
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.
- Earn 50,000 Bonus Miles and 5,000 Medallion® Qualification Miles (MQMs) after you spend $2,000 in purchases on your new Card in your first 3 months.
- Plus, earn up to $100 back in statement credits for eligible purchases at U.S. restaurants with your card within the first 3 months of membership.
- 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