American Airlines Emotional Support Animal Policy Change For Tickets Issued On Or After July 1, 2018

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US airlines have been tightening the emotional support animal rules as of late and today American Airlines announced changes that will take effect for tickets that are issued on or after July 1, 2018.

American Airlines will require passengers to fill out forms and fax or email them to the airline minimum 48 hours before their first scheduled flight on the itinerary. AA will also tighten what qualifies as emotional support animal.

You can access AA’s page for the change here and for the updated policy here.

Here’s their reasoning behind this change:

  1. We support the rights of customers, from veterans to people with disabilities, with legitimate needs for a trained service or support animal. Unfortunately, untrained animals can lead to safety issues for our team, our customers and working dogs onboard our aircraft.
  2. American, like other airlines, has experienced an increase in customers who are transporting a service or support animal onboard our aircraft — more than 40 percent from 2016 to 2017.
  3. Prior to enacting these changes to our animal policy, which will become effective July 1, American met with a number of disability groups to get their input, including American Association of People with Disabilities, Paralyzed Veterans of America, American Council for the Blind and My Blind Spot. At American, we want to have policies and procedures in place that protect our team members and our customers who have a real need for a trained service or support animal. We appreciate the dialogue and partnership we have with these organizations.
  4. Some of the changes include additional restrictions on animal types, including insects, hedgehogs and goats. American will now enforce the existing 48-hour advanced notice and pre-clearance policy for emotional support animals, but will have procedures in place for emergency travel booked within 48 hours of departure.
  5. Details regarding our policies are available here.

And here are the forms that need to be filled:

Download (PDF, 84KB)

Conclusion

It is really unfortunate that people that truly need emotional support animals need to go through this hassle because some passengers are simply too cheap to pay the fee to transport their pets and have use this “trick” to save money.

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