American Airlines Tightens Policy for Travel with Emotional Support Animals

By Paul Riegler on 14 May 2018
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An American Airlines 777-300ER

An American Airlines 777-300ER

American Airlines announced new policies for travel with service and emotional support animals. The new rules go into effect for tickets issued starting July 1, 2018.

Going beyond what other airlines have announced, the Fort Worth-based airline is banning a number of animals as service animals. Included are amphibians, ferrets, goats, hedgehogs, insects, reptiles, rodents, snakes, and spiders as well as non-household birds and animals with tusks, horns, or hooves (with the exception of miniature horses).  The airline is also banning any animal that is unclean or has an odor.

Any service or emotional support animal allowed on board must be able to either sit at the passenger’s feet or fit under the seat, and cannot protrude into or block an aisle.

Any behavior such as growling, biting or attempting to bite, or jumping on people that cannot be corrected will result in the animal being classified as a pet with all applicable fees.

For emotional support animals, American will require either a completed form or letter by a licensed mental health professional, a behavior guidelines form completed by the passenger, and an “animal sanitation” form completed by the customer for flights over eight hours, indicating that the animal traveling either won’t need to relieve itself during flight or can do so in a manner that “doesn’t create a health or sanitation issue.”

(Photo: Accura Media Group)

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