Here's welcome news for those of you who fly American Airlines. The company is tightening its rules on emotional support animals that accompany human passengers, and that means no more snakes and other such critters on their airplanes.
That means passengers who simply must have the emotional support of their pets will have to figure out a way to fly without their amphibians, ferrets, goats, hedgehogs, insects, reptiles, rodents, snakes, spiders, sugar gliders, "non-household birds" (like chickens, geese and hawks), and any animal with tusks, horns or hooves. However, passengers can still bring on a miniature horse if it is properly trained as a service animal.
American, the nation's largest airlines, joins many other competitors that recently instituted such rules. Service animals are still permitted on American if they are "specifically trained to perform life functions for individuals with disabilities" like blindness, deafness, seizures and mobility impairments."
"As the requirements for transporting each type of animal differ, our employees are trained to ask certain questions to determine the classification applicable to your animal," the airline said.
The company's rules state that:
Emotional support 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 won’t be permitted in the cabin if they display any form of disruptive behavior that can’t be successfully corrected or controlled, including but not limited to:
Biting or attempting to bite
Jumping on or lunging at people.
If this behavior is observed at any point and isn't corrected or controlled, the animal will be considered a pet and all pet requirements and applicable fees will apply.
American said passengers must provide 48 hours advance notice of their intention to travel with an emotional support animal, although it will have procedures to handle emergency short-notice bookings.
Effective for tickets issued on or after July 1, travelers with animals must contact American's Special Assistance Desk "with all required documentation," and the airline will reserve the right to contact the passenger's mental health professional to confirm the need for the support animal.
To bring an emotional support or "psychiatric service" animal on board, the traveler must provide a signed mental health form or equivalent letter from a mental health professional, read the airline's behavioral guidelines for animals (which prohibit animals that exhibit any disruptive activity), and submit an "Animal Sanitation During 8+ Hours" form, attesting that the animal won't cause a problem by relieving itself on the flight. Certified service animals also must meet that last requirement.
Glad of that!