emotional support animals

Remember the emotional-support chicken?

Last year about this time, there was quite a stir about airlines tightening up their rules about the definition of emotional support animals.

Delta Air Lines got the ball rolling by issuing a new policy banning service and support animals under four months of age regardless of flight length. The new policy also banned emotional support animals of any age on flights longer than eight hours.

Other airlines followed Delta’s lead.

Then, right as the Christmas travel rush kicks, Popeye’s at Philadelphia International Airport (PHL) shares news of a meal on its menu being served in a chicken-shaped box.

The box was labeled as an “emotional support chicken.”

The cocky campaign was a nod to news stories about the wide variety of animals, including peacocks, pigs, monkeys and spiders that try to take onboard for free.

 “We appreciate how comforting emotional support animals are and wanted to create our own version,” said Hope Diaz, CMO of Popeyes Louisiana Kitchen, “The good news is that our emotional support chicken is permitted to fly without any restrictions – one less worry for busy travelers!”

Should they bring that emotional support chicken (in a box) back?

Tampa Int’l latest airport to tighten leash on pets

Last year, Portland International Airport and several other airports followed the lead of airlines in tightening the leash on what consitutes an ’emotional support’ animal and the expected and acceptable behavior of pets in the terminals.

The move came in response to increase incidents of aggressive pets and, in some cases, of pets biting and attacking passengers and employees in airports.

Now Tampa International Airport (TPA), which last May was in the news when a dog traveling as an emotional support animal gave birth to puppies in the terminal, has joined the herd in stepping up its enforcement of restricting non-service animals at the airport.

The aim of TPA’s new policy is reducing injuries to pets and people as well as enhancing cleanliness and sanitation at the airport.

Starting this week, TPA will begin educating pet owners about the airport policy which, it notes, has been in place for decades but loosely enforced.

The policy states that traveling non-service animals (i.e. pets) must be properly confined in a pet carrier or controlled on a leash when they are in the airport.

In addition, pets that are not traveling, such as those greeting arriving passengers in the Main Terminal, are not allowed at TPA.

At the end of March, pet owners who are not following the rules will receive warnings and there could be citations for non-compliant guests.

LIke other airport, TPA is experiencing record passenger growth and a record numbers of animals in the terminals. And TPA paramedics, police and maintenance staff are responding to an increased number of injuries to people and pets and cleaning up hundreds of pet ‘accidents.’

TPA’s policy enforcement was endorsed by the Humane Society of Tampa Bay, which says the policy is a necessary measure to reduce animal incidents such as paw injuries on escalators.

What do you think of this trend? Do you bring your pet to the airport? Have you seen witnessed pets misbehaving at airports?

A pet traveling as an emotional support animal gave birth to puppies last year at Tampa International Airport.

Will this emotional support chicken fly?

Misbehaving emotional support animals on airplanes ruffle lots of feathers lately and have caused carriers to tighten up their rules.

But the emotional support chicken that Popeyes let fly at its Philadelphia International Airport location (in Terminal C) is designed to get laughs and to fill stomachs.

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On Tuesday, Popeyes rolled out a special fried chicken meal (a 3-piece tender combo) that comes packaged inside a cardboard carrier that is shaped like a chicken.

On the box is a label that identifies the container as an “Emotional Support Chicken.”

The cocky campaign is a nod to the wide variety of animals – including peacocks, pigs,monkeys and spiders – that passengers try to insist must fly in the cabin for free because they are providing important emotional support for their owners.  

Popeyes is going for giggles with this emotional support chicken, introduced just in time for the stressful holiday travel period.

 “We appreciate how comforting emotional support animals are and wanted to create our own version,” said Hope Diaz, CMO of Popeyes Louisiana Kitchen, “The good news is that our emotional support chicken is permitted to fly without any restrictions – one less worry for busy travelers!”

Stuck at the Airport is declaring Popeyes’ emotional support chicken a top contender for the airport amenity of the week. 

Delta tightens leash on emotional support animals- again.

Delta Air Lines is issuing a new round of rules for service and support animals . 

Don’t be surprised if these rules are adopted soon by other airlines. 

Delta’s new policy goes into effect December 18. Under the new rules, service and support animals under four months of age will be banned from any Delta flight.

Delta will also no longer allow emotional support animals – of any age – to be booked on flights longer than eight hours.

If you purchased a ticket before December 18th and have requested to travel with an emotional support animal, Delta will still allow you and your emotional support animal to travel.

Come February 1, 2019, however, emotional support animals will not be accepted on flights longer than eight hours, regardless of booking date.  

“These updates support Delta’s commitment to safety and also protect the rights of customers with documented needs, such as veterans with disabilities, to travel with trained service and support animals, ” said John Laughter, Senior Vice President – Corporate Safety, Security and Compliance.

Delta said the updated policy comes on the heels of an 84 percent increase in reported incidents involving service and support animals from 2016-2017. 

Those incidents include urination/defecation, biting and an attack by a 70-pound dog. Delta also notes that its updated support and service animal age requirement aligns with the vaccination policy of the CDC and the eight-hour flight limit for emotional support animals is consistent with principles outlined in the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Air Carrier Access Act.

The full policy, including rules about what kind of animals can be considered service or emotional support animals, is on the Delta website

The new rules don’t apply to animals traveling in the cabin inside closed carriers as pets on paid tickets. 

Southwest Airlines tighens rules on emotional support animals

Southwest Airlines is the latest airline to tighten its policies on passengers traveling with trained service and emotional support animals.

The new rules go in to effect Monday, September 17, 2018.

Under Southwest Airlines’ new rules, each customer will only be able to travel with one emotional support animal (or ESA) and ESAs will be limited to only cats and dogs.

During travel, the airline will always require each ESA to be kept in its carrier or be kept on a leash.

Customers traveling with ESAs will continue to be required to present a complete, current letter from a medical doctor or licensed mental health professional on the day of departure.

As part of these new policies, Southwest is also recognizing fully-trained psychiatric support animals (PSAs) as trained service animals.

The airline said it informally accepted PSAs as trained service animals in the past. Now the airline will formally accept this type of service animal. PSAs are animals that are specially trained to perform a task or work for a person with a mental health-related disability. To travel with these animals, the airline will require only a credible verbal assurance.

When it comes to traditional trained service animals, Southwest says it is going to adopt the DOT guidelines and accept only dogs, cats, and miniature horses.

“For the health and safety of our Customers and Employees, unusual or exotic animals will not be accepted,” the airline said in a statement and, “As is the case today, the Customer with the disability must be able to provide credible verbal assurance that the animal is a trained service animal.”

“We welcome emotional support and trained service animals that provide needed assistance to our Customers,” said Steve Goldberg, Southwest’s Senior Vice President of Operations and Hospitality said in statement, “However, we want to make sure our guidelines are clear and easy to understand while providing Customers and Employees a comfortable and safe experience.”

Southwest’s new rule announcement comes affter Alaska, American, Delta, JetBlue, and United have also updated their policies.

What do you think of the new rules? Fair?