American Airlines bans insects, hedgehogs, goats, ferrets as inflight service animals

As more support animals try to fly, American Airlines says leave the goats at home | Miami Herald

As more support animals try to fly, American Airlines says leave the goats at home | Miami Herald

American Airlines said that between 2016 and 2017, the number of customers transporting service or support animals aboard their planes rose by more than 40%.

The changes will take effect on American Airlines flights starting July 1, just several months after a comfort dog died on a United Airlines flight after being stored in an overhead bin.

They must be leashed or have a harness and may not growl, bite, or jump.

"A service animal is a dog or miniature horse that is basic obedience trained, potty trained, and task trained for someone's disability", said Amanda Pratt, the owner and a trainer at Scout's Legacy Service Dogs. However, emotional support and service animals can not take up a seat or block an aisle.

The airline announced changes to its policy on Monday following recent controversies over attempts to bring peacocks and other non-traditional support animals on board its flights.

Ferrets, amphibians, spiders, rodents, and snakes and other reptiles also are banned from the cabin "due to safety and/or public health risk", according to the policy.

American will now enforce the existing 48-hour advanced notice and pre-clearance policy for emotional support animals - including dogs and cats - where passengers must submit documents 48 hours ahead of flight time showing that permitted animals are healthy, trained and there at the recommendation of a mental health professional.

The airlines is also forbidding any animal that is unclean and or has an odour.

American Airlines is based in Forth Worth, Texas.

The airline said it met with a number of disability groups to get their input before making the changes, including My Blind Spot, an organization that works to make environments more accessible to everyone, regardless of disability. None of the restrictions affect American's service animal policy, which specifically applies to animals that are trained to assist people with disabilities.

"We're tightening things down a little bit, because as you know, we've had some incidents in the past on our aircraft and we want to make sure that the safety of everyone, including support animals, is protected", Boda said. But they would no longer receive the protections against discrimination afforded by the Air Carrier Access Act. "Incidents when people try to pass off their pets as support animals are going to be reined in".

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