Does anyone enjoy flying these days? You’re familiar with the usual list of complaints: security line, packed flights, delays, unruly passengers. Add one more: animals in the passenger cabin.
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Delta carries 700 “emotional support animals” and service dogs every day. It was 450 a day just two years ago. Yes, there are many more dogs and cats on your neighbor’s lap, or under their seat. And in those two years, incidents of biting, barking and urination have gone up 84%.
It’s the number of emotional support animals that’s really gone through the roof. Up 56% in a year. Several airlines imposed new rules, you need documentation to prove you need the animal, and that it’s been properly trained. No effect: the documents are easily available online.
Suppose you object: you are harsh and insensitive. You will be labeled an animal hater. You are in the wrong.
I think not. I think a lot of people claim emotional support status for their pets, simply to avoid paying for them to fly in the cargo hold. Sure that might be tough on the animal, but it’s very tough on the flying public. It’s like bereavement paid leave – sure it’s nice for some people in some situations, but it’s wide open to abuse.
I understand the airlines’ problem: they don’t want bad publicity and they don’t want lawsuits.
Maybe this is one occasion when we need, dare I say it, government regulations!