It's always important to understand your rights when it comes to your service or emotional support animal (ESA). Understanding the rules and guidelines of living or traveling with your animal can make life a lot easier. However, sometimes these rules and guidelines can become confusing when one entity has its own set of rules, and the federal government has another. This gray area has become apparent when it comes to flying with an ESA or service animal. You may have heard recent news headlines referencing emotional support dogs, and how certain airlines are hoping to put restrictions on specific breeds. If you were confused by these announcements, you're not alone. Here's a quick summary to help you understand everything you need to know about the new guidelines for flying with a service or emotional support animal.
When Delta Airlines attempted to put a ban on "pit bull-like breeds," it received pushback from the US Transportation Department. The department puts out guidelines that clearly state that airlines are not allowed to place breed restrictions on service dogs or emotional support dogs. This news comes after an airline crew member was bitten by an emotional support animal and required five stitches. However, the airline did not disclose the breed of the dog that was involved in the incident.
Even though airlines cannot simply ban certain animal breeds, they are allowed to review emotional support dogs on a case-by-case basis. For instance, if you're attempting to buy a ticket to fly with your emotional support animal, any airline can require you to purchase the ticket in person and bring your emotional support dog in for a review. They want to make sure that the animal does not pose a risk to other passengers or airline crew members.
Much of this debate stems from concerns that some passengers are abusing the emotional support animal system that the US Transportation Department has in place. They've stated that many online ESA companies aren't following proper protocols when it comes to registering an animal. This has led to many people who are not in need of an ESA to register animals that aren't fit to fly. Over a million passengers have flown with service animals or emotional support animals over the last year. Unfortunately, there's been a spike in incidents with untrained animals biting or misbehaving on flights. Because of this, most airlines will require animals to be reviewed individually before entering a flight.
If you'd like to register your dog or animal to be an ESA, it's important to go with legitimate registry systems, such as the National Service Animal Registry. We can help you understand how to properly register your animal, how to receive a certified ESA vest for your animal, and what your rights are.