In an ongoing effort to keep up with changing times, the Department of Transportation (DOT) recently released their updated rules for air travel with service animals. This rule replaces the previous one (http://barrierfreetravels.com/2019/10/dot-updates-acaa-service-animal-regulations/ ). which was released in October 2018.
While the previous rule increased the documentation required to fly with an emotional support animal, this update classifies emotional support animals as pets. The rule is expected to take effect in early 2021, 30 days after it’s published in the Federal Register. Here are the highlights of the new guidelines. Continue reading
In August 8, 2019 the Department of Transportation issued a “Final Statement of Enforcement Policies Regarding Service Animals on Flights”. This document, which clarifies some points in the Air Carrier Access Act (ACAA) in regards to service animals and emotional support animals, is the result of a public process which began in May 2018. This process was initiated after the DOT received a number of airline complaints about passengers who were skirting the rules and evading pet carrier fees by falsely claiming that their pets were needed for emotional support. Over 4,500 public comments were received after the Preliminary Rule was posted. Continue reading
Well it happened again last month – another emotional support animal (ESA) misbehaved on a flight. This isn’t news, as it seems to be the norm these days. Pretty much anyone can go online and purchase “ESA credentials” so they can fly free with their pets. Just google “emotional support animal credentials” and you’ll get a listing of what I call “card mills” that – for a price — provide certificates, vests and other accessories that will allow your dog to accompany you anywhere. Continue reading
The day started out as a typical travel day for Matthew Meehan. That is until he boarded his Delta flight from Atlanta to Miami on November 1, 2018. As he settled into his seat he noticed an unpleasant odor, but it wasn’t until he reached underneath it to retrieve his errant charger that he discovered the source. Continue reading
Just when you thought it was safe to board an airplane, another wild and wacky emotional support animal story surfaces. And this time, it’s not a pig, a turkey or a peacock, but instead a squirrel.
It’s no secret that we’re seeing an increase in service animals and emotional support animals here in the US. There are many reasons for this, but the “card mills” which sell service animal certifications, leashes and vests on the internet have definitely helped increase the number of pets that now “claim” service animal status. And for what it’s worth – save your money, as no certifications are required in the US; in fact it’s illegal to ask for them. Continue reading
Airlines for America (AIA) — an airline industry group — recently announced that it had submitted a 222-page document to the Department of Transportation (DOT), in response to a call for input on possible revisions to the Air Carrier Access Act (ACAA). The group’s response included the suggestion that the DOT narrow the definition of “service animal” to “trained dogs that perform a task or work for an individual with a disability.” The document also included the recommendation that airlines should not be required to allow emotional support animals (ESOs) on board. Continue reading
Delta Airlines recently announced that it will no longer accept pit bull type dogs as service dogs or emotional support animals, beginning July 10, 2018. Additionally there will be a limit of one emotional support animal per passenger. Apparently this new policy is the direct result of several employees being bitten by service dogs or emotional support animals. Continue reading
In response to a New York artist’s failed attempt to pass off her pet peacock (Dexter) as an emotional support animal on a recent United Airlines flight, the airline responded by tightening their emotional support animal policies beginning on March 1, 2018. Continue reading
In June of last year the Florida State Legislature amended CS/HB 71 on service animals, to reflect changes in the Americans with Disabilities Act and to update the language. The law took effect on July 1, 2015. Most of the changes were innocuous, however there are two interesting additions to the law. Continue reading