American Airlines Says No To Insects, Goats & Hedgehogs

Flight attendant serving coffee aboard an American Airlines flight

Passengers wanting to travel with their emotional support animal in the cabin will also be required to submit documentation at least 48 hours before their flight.

American Airlines is making it very clear: Insects, goats and hedgehogs can not be brought on planes as emotional support animals.

The new rules are supposed to protect passengers who really do need to travel with service and support animals and are also geared towards preventing disruption in the cabin being caused by animals that are not properly trained, The Chicago Tribune reported.

Earlier this year United Airlines tightened its service animals' policy after an incident in which a passenger tried to bring a peacock on a flight as an emotional support animal.

The changes will take effect on American Airlines flights starting July 1, just several months after a comfort dog died on a United Airlines flight after being stored in an overhead bin.

American is also prohibiting a dozen types of animals from being considered emotional-support animals, including amphibians, ferrets, rodents and non-household birds.

American Airlines is based in Forth Worth, Texas. "Unfortunately, untrained animals can lead to safety issues for our team, our customers, and working dogs onboard our aircraft", the airlines said in a statement. American Airlines said that between 2016 and 2017, the number of customers transporting service or support animals aboard their planes rose by more than 40%.

American Airlines said it met with a number of disability groups including American Association of People with Disabilities and Paralyzed Veterans of America to get their input before changing its animal policy.

Rep. Bill Shuster (R-Pa.) is proposing an amendment calling on the U.S. Transportation Department to clarify existing policies.

American Airlines joins its competitors in clamping down on passengers travelling with emotional support animals. But they would no longer receive the protections against discrimination afforded by the Air Carrier Access Act. That could put Burr at odds with mental health advocates who see emotional support animals as a crucial part of treatment for some people with mental disabilities. If an animal seems particularly violent or aggressive, it will also be prohibited from boarding a plane with its owner.

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