For quite a long time, emotional support animals have been of significance to many air travelers, especially persons with disabilities. However, The Department of Transportation (DOT) is holding a downward negotiation on banning emotional support animals on commercial air travel premises. On the same note, the department plans to tighten air traveling regulations by only allowing the normal service animals on board.
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Because of several complaints from the flight support team and other stakeholders, the Department of Transportation has recently come up with new regulations in connection with emotion support animals. The department refuses to consider emotional support animals as service animals. This follows the realization that some travelers tag their animals as emotional support pets while in the real sense, they are not.
However, DOT’s leniency has allowed service animals to replace emotional support animals. Nonetheless, they are to meet specific standards. On the stricter side of it, the department seeks to reduce the number of animals on flights. It argues that following complaints from different departments, there is no other way to settle this. On top of that, the department wants a scientific explanation of how ESA contributes to a disabled person’s health.
The Department of Transportation proposes that passengers bringing their animals on board must adhere to some conditions. To begin with, a person will only be allowed to bring a maximum of two animals. They must be individually trained to perform special tasks to the said disabled person. Also, these animals would only be considered service animals rather than emotional support animals.
Passengers with animals will be required to check in a bit earlier. The animal(s) must also fit in the foot space of the owner. Upon boarding a plane, the animals must not be left loose to avoid cases of hurting flight attendants, as has been witnessed before. According to DOT’s proposal, more tight regulations are yet to come to an end, “the days of the Noah’s ark on air.”
Some states have already put stricter rules than DOT. Around 22 states have put into practice more firm rules concerning support animals. Alongside these are Delta and Alaska airlines, which have the support of the new DOT rule that allows airlines to decide whether travelers can have their animals on board for emotional support or not. On the other hand, the department disregards the airlines’ discrimination against certain animals. This argument is aligned to the Washington Post released in 2017. According to the paper, 751,000 animals traveled on the air that year. Yes, that is how significant the number of supportive animals can be.
Air travel has recently seen a large number of emotional support animals on board. Then again, it does not limit other animals like ducks and peacocks, claiming their portion in supporting people emotionally. Over recent years, about 3,000 complaints have been made to the Department of Travel about service animals on flights. For this reason, DOT constricted its 2018 proposal that allowed dogs, cats, among other animals, to be considered for emotional support during flights.