Posted by 23 January 2020
As more people bring service animals or animals they say are necessary for “emotional support” onto flights, there are more complaints from other passengers and rising incidents with the animals. Now the federal government is looking to revamp rules that require airlines to accommodate these animals.
Under current government rules, airlines must permit service animals and emotional support animals. The rules are vague about what qualifies an animal to serve these tasks. Critics say that this has allowed people to claim that their pet is an emotional support animal to get special treatment on planes. There have been a rising number of incidents of people taking animals onto planes that have resulted in bites or other incidents.
The proposed Federal Aviation Administration regulations would still require airlines to allow service animals and emotional support animals on board. However, it sets criteria that these animals must meet. Among other things, those wishing to bring the animals on a plane must show that they are trained for the duties that are being claimed. The animal’s owner would also be subject to new paperwork requirements, such as attesting that the animal will not relieve itself on the flight or will do so in a sanitary way.
Supporters of the rule change say it is necessary to stem the tide of fake service and emotional support animals being let on planes. They argue that current rules allow people to claim that their pets are serving another function without actually having to prove such a role. Critics counter that this rule will require too much paperwork for people with disabilities or an emotional issue, so it will discourage them from flying.
The regulation is in the proposal stage. The public can comment on it for the next two months, then the Trump Administration will finalize it.
Do you think the federal government should set stricter rules about allowing service and emotional support animals on planes?