Southwest will announce this year any changes and timelines for those changes to our policies.”The airlines that are barring Emotional Support Animals (ESA) say they are simply reacting to the DOT rules change which limits support animals in the cabin to trained service animals, such as guide dogs for the blind. An American Airlines flight attendant was bitten by an emotional support dog on a flight to North Carolina, requiring five stitches. Nonetheless, the airlines and the media, which largely took the airlines’ side, paints the elimination of Emotional Support Animals as a big win. The second major change to the DOT rule is to permit the treatment of “emotional support animals as a pet and not requiring airlines to recognize emotional support animals as service animals.” American Airlines says, “Animals that previously traveled as emotional support animals and no longer qualify as service animals may travel as carry-on pets or as cargo pets, as long as they meet the requirements.”Pet travel fees can be quite lucrative for the airlines. With Southwest Airlines apparently still a holdout, and with advocates threatening lawsuits, will the ban on emotional support animals stick?
Source: Forbes January 13, 2021 00:33 UTC