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JetBlue is the latest airline to jump on the trend of tightening its emotional support animal policy.
The carrier announced on Tuesday that it’s introducing new requirements for both emotional support and psychiatric service animals in addition to only allowing certain types of pets. As of July 1, 2018, travelers bringing an emotional support or psychiatric service animal will be required to submit advance notice and proper documentation to JetBlue in order to bring the animal on board.
As of July 1, JetBlue will only allow dogs, cats and miniature horses as emotional support or psychiatric service animals on board its aircraft. Each passenger will be limited to one of the accepted types of animals. Based on other airlines’ policies, JetBlue is more restrictive in terms of what it allows as an emotional support or psychiatric service animal — with the exception of Delta Air Lines.
United allows animals including, but not limited to, dogs, miniature horses, monkeys, cats and birds. American doesn’t detail what is allowed, but it does have a list of 13 animals that it doesn’t allow as service or emotional support animals. Similar to AA, Alaska also publishes a list of animals that are not accepted. Delta, the first major US carrier to tighten its emotional support animal policy, says that any animal other than a dog or cat will be evaluated on a case-by-case basis.
In addition to the new list of accepted animals, JetBlue says that passengers who are flying on or after July 1 must notify the airline and submit required documentation at least 48 hours in advance of departure. The following three documents must be submitted online within the specified time frame:
- Medical/Mental Health Professional Form — Completed by the professional currently providing the traveler’s mental health and who prescribes the emotional support or psychiatric service animal.
- Veterinary Health Form — Completed by a veterinarian, detailing and attesting to the animal’s vaccination records and fitness to fly.
- Confirmation of Animal Behavior Form — Signed by the traveler, affirming that the emotional support or psychiatric service animal is trained to behave appropriately in public and that the owner accepts all liability for any injuries or damage to property.
All of the required forms can be found on JetBlue’s website.
In its announcement, JetBlue said that its policy for non-psychiatric service animals — those that are trained to perform specific tasks — remains unchanged.
“The new requirements follow a drastic increase in industry incidents involving emotional support animals that haven’t been adequately trained to behave in a busy airport or the confined space of an aircraft, which creates health and safety risks for customers, crewmembers and other service or support animals,” JetBlue said in its announcement.
This move from JetBlue to tighten its restrictions on emotional support and psychiatric service animals follows similar moves from other US carriers. In January, Delta further restricted its support and service animal policy, and in February, United followed suit. Alaska made changes to its policies in April, and American Airlines was the most recent to do so in May. If you’re going to travel with an emotional support animal, check out this guide for how to best do it.
Featured image by Robert Nickelsberg / Getty Images.
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