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Suppost animals on aircraft in the USA gets a revamp. And, the changes seem quite sweeping. As if it’s not hard enough traveling during COVID-19, many people might find the new rules unsettling. On December 2, the US Department of Transportation (DOT) Airlines announced the changes. How will they affect you?
Support animals on aircraft encounter a problem
We reported that travel becomes more limited during the coronavirus. And, some people aren’t even sure how to apply for passports at the moment. And, like everything else, it “takes a bit longer” to obtain papers to settle that wanderlust. However, not that many destinations remain open for long-distance travel as another lockdown looms. For now, people still fly domestic routes, as evidenced by the huge amount of people flying at Thanksgiving.
Many of those people take along support animals in the aircraft. In fact, TV Shows Ace reported that Dancing With the Stars winner, Kaitlyn Bristowe relies on her two dogs for emotional support. After she won the Mirror Ball Trophy, Kaitlyn revealed herself in a plane cabin. She told her followers she suffers from “a flying phobia.” However, under the new rules, things might become a bit more difficult for her, and those like her. That’s because “airlines are no longer required to “recognize emotional support animals as support animals.” In fact, they have the right to treat them as ordinary pets.
New Support animal rules by DOT
The new Air Carrier Access Act (ACAA) regulations mean that only dogs remain considered as support animals, according to Meaww. They interpreted the DOT statement as saying, “airlines are no longer required to accommodate travelers who want to fly with animals such as pigs or rabbits they consider as their emotional support.” Once the new rules come into effect, in about a month or so, if you own a support dog, it’s gonna be harder as proof’s required.
Only two dogs may accompany someone with an official disability. So, no more sneaking those exotic pets on board under the new support animal regulations. Previously, all people need was a doctor’s note which allowed them an animal. And, in some instances, those animals received no training. But, the number of people transporting pets and claiming them as support animals became a problem. The statement noticed “defecation,” noise, attacks on other animals, and even “harm” to passengers in the past.
How will the rules affect you?
Forget about your fluffy rabbit. Only dogs qualify. And, it sounds like cats also become the same as any other pet. In other words, you pay and follow the various confinement regulations the same as other passengers. However, genuine people with disabilities need not worry too much. Two dogs still travel, hopefully for free. But, the individual airlines now charge a fee, or not, depending on the way market forces impact.
On the upside, the new support animals in aircraft rules now allowed special needs passengers online check-in. That removes queuing at airports. Going forward, the dog breed doesn’t matter. But, any sign of aggression could call for their removal. Apart from proof of the need for a support animal, passengers now need documentation showing the animals received “appropriate training.” And that includes verifying how the animal relieves itself in a “sanity manner.” Plus, airlines may select the option of leashing or otherwise restraining the animals.
Incidents involving animals prompted the new regulations
Apparently, as more people transport pets, more incidents take place. For example, the Dogbite Blog reported an incident where a support animal attacked a passenger. In 2017, a man who boarded a Delta flight suffered repeated attacks from ” a large “support” dog seated on a man’s lap.” Later, he sued the airline and the dog owner for it. LA Times reported way back at the beginning of 2019, that many problems with people “gaming” the airlines with pets became all too common.
Various organizations and the public submitted their thoughts on the issue of support animals on aircraft. Of course, people who took iguana’s, Pappy the Poodle, and Roger Rabbit along for free spoiled it all for genuine people in need. If you have a genuine disability, then you might actually welcome the new rules. After all, you may still take along two trained dogs. But, in the past, pets caused an issue for special needs passengers. While it means jumping through a few hoops, at least you know the animals on the plane received proper training.
What are your thoughts on the new support animals rules on aircraft? Sound off in the comments below.