American Airlines to ban emotional support animals on flights

Starting Feb.1, only allow trained service dogs will be able to fly in the cabin

American Airlines is the latest airline to prohibit emotional support animals on its flights in order to align with regulations recently issued by the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT).

Continue Reading Below

CLICK HERE TO READ MORE ON FOX BUSINESS

Starting Feb.1, only trained service dogs will be able to fly in the cabin, the Fort Worth, Texas-based carrier announced in a note on its website. Passengers will also be required to submit the DOT's Service Animal Air Transportation form before their trip to confirm that their animal is a legitimate service dog.

TickerSecurityLastChangeChange %
AALAMERICAN AIRLINES GROUP INC.15.53+0.10+0.65%
ALKALASKA AIR GROUP51.83-1.07-2.02%

American's notice comes just a week after Alaska Airlines issued the same warning to its customers in order to adhere to the DOT's revised rules regarding the transportation of service animals. In December, the government agency had formally ruled that only dogs can fly as service animals, and companions that passengers use for emotional support don’t count.

When the DOT's rule takes effect on Jan. 11, American says it will no longer "authorize new travel for animals" that do not meet the DOT's definition.

However, if a passenger is traveling with an animal that doesn’t qualify as a trained service animal, it may be transported as a pet.

EMOTIONAL SUPPORT ANIMALS WILL NO LONGER BE CONSIDERED SERVICE ANIMALS ON FLIGHTS, DOT DECIDES

Travelers check-in at the American Airlines terminal at the Los Angeles International Airport in Los Angeles on May 28, 2020. (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez, File)

The government's new rule aims to settle years of tension between airlines and passengers who bring their pets on board for free by saying they need them for emotional help. Under a longstanding department policy, all the passengers needed was a note from a health professional.

ALASKA AIRLINES WILL NO LONGER ALLOW EMOTIONAL SUPPORT ANIMALS ON FLIGHTS

The agency said they were prompted to revise its rules partly because passengers carrying unusual animals on board “eroded the public trust in legitimate service animals.” It also cited the increasing frequency of people “fraudulently representing their pets as service animals,” and a rise in misbehavior by emotional-support animals, ranging from peeing on the carpet to biting other passengers.

Jessica Tyler, vice president of Airport Excellence for America, said the airline is confident that the new rule will help to "better serve our customers, particularly those with disabilities who travel with service animals" and better protect its team members.

The Associated Press contributed to this report. 

GET FOX BUSINESS ON THE GO BY CLICKING HERE