American Airlines becomes the latest U.S. carrier to issue renewed and tighter rules for taking emotional support and service animals on board it airplanes.
The full rules, which go into effect July 1, 2018, are listed here, but some of the highlights include:
To fly with an emotional/psychiatric service animal, customers must contact American’s Special Assistance Desk at least 48 hours before a flight and provide documentation.
American says validation of that documentation will include having the airline contact your mental health professional.
Certain types of animals from are now forbidden from flying as emotional/psychiatric support or service animals, including insects, amphibians, reptiles, hedgehogs, goats, ferrets, snakes, spiders, waterfowl, birds of prey, animals with tusks, horns or hooves (except specially trained horses) and animals that have an odor.
To fly for free, emotional/psychiatric support and fully-trained service animals must meet the tightened requirements, must be able to fit at your feet, under your seat or in your lap (and if flying in your lap, be smaller than a 2-year old child).
And service or emotional/psychiatric support animals will not be allowed to stick out into or block aisles; occupy a seat or eat from tray tables.