January 23, 2020

GOOD. IT’S BASICALLY A SCAM. U.S. Moves to Let Airlines Ban Emotional Support Animals: Proposed rule change would allow only service dogs trained to help travelers with physical or psychiatric disorders to fly for free.

Airline passengers might soon have to leave their emotional support animals at home.

A new rule proposed by the U.S. Department of Transportation would permit airlines to stop accepting emotional support animals on planes, allowing only service dogs that are professionally trained to perform tasks or assist passengers with disabilities, including psychiatric disorders.

Airlines have argued for years that the current rules typically requiring airlines to treat support animals as service animals—both of which fly free of charge—are too loose, leading many passengers to claim ordinary pets as support animals to avoid fees of $125 or more for international flights.

Carriers say that has forced them to accommodate a surge of untrained animals that have bitten passengers, scuffled with other pets or left messes for crew members to clean up. Airlines reported receiving over 3,000 complaints about service animals in 2018, up from 719 five years earlier, according to the DOT.

The agency’s proposed rule, which would be open for public comment for 60 days, would also allow airlines to impose additional restrictions on service animals. Such limits could include requiring passengers traveling with a service animal to arrive at the airport an hour earlier than others to verify their animal’s credentials, capping the number of service animals a single passenger can travel with and requiring a service animal be leashed and harnessed.

This all sounds eminently sensible to me.

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