Wash. woman disagrees with airlines' emotional support animal policy
02 February, 2018, 01:04 | Author: Teresa Adams
And, it turns out, fake emotional support animals have been such a problem for airlines that Delta has had to be quite specific about what animals are not allowed on a flight. There are no changes in United's policy for service animals.
The Department of Transportation noted that complaints related to service animals on flights nearly quadrupled between 2012 and 2016, according to the Washington Post.
United carried 76,000 emotional support animals in 2017, up almost 77 percent from the year before, and noted a significant increase in incidents involving the animals on board its aircraft, spokesman Charles Hobart said.
Delta, American, and United require passengers to provide a signed document from a mental health professional to verify that an emotional support animal is not merely a pet.
But if you thought this was the strangest animal someone has tried to bring on board an aeroplane, you might be wrong.
Over the weekend, a United Airlines passenger named Dexter was getting ready to board a flight from Newark to Los Angeles.
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Dexter the emotional support peacock has been barred from boarding a flight by United Airlines, to the dismay of its owner and the amusement of passers-by in New Jersey.
The timing was a coincidence, Hobart said. "This animal did not meet guidelines for a number of reasons, including its weight and size", United said in a statement to Business Insider.
Airlines can refuse service or support snakes, reptiles, ferrets, rodents, sugar gliders and spiders, along with animals that are too large or heavy, pose a threat to health or safety, or would disrupt service.
The new rules will take effect March 1. Delta also will require veterinary health records for trained service animals. The airline said it saw an 84% increase since 2016 in incidents involving animals that were not properly trained, which included urination, defecation, and attacks on passengers and crew members. But it's worth noting that in its January 19 policy change announcement, even Delta admitted there had been an uptick in unfortunate incidents as a result of increased numbers of in-flight animals. "The Department of Transportation's rules regarding emotional support animals are not working as they were meant to", United said.
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Peacock denied as emotional support animal for flight
Most react to emotional support animals with coos and adornment, but for Dexter the peacock, reactions were far from welcoming. At Newark, the woman's ticket was refunded, and the airline even gave her taxi fare back to the hotel, Laurie said.