Wednesday, October 20, 2021

FAA gives airlines some leeway on emotional support animals. It may have trouble with enforcement | Kate Crockett

In an administrative order on Thursday, the Federal Aviation Administration granted airlines some more leeway in dealing with emotional support animals. But the move was primarily driven by a previous ban issued by the FAA in late 2017 which prohibited emotional support animals on airplanes. The ban was modified to include only those animals that pose a threat to airline passengers. The reason the ban was lifted:

airlines often make a mess of transporting animals and the agency doesn’t want to encourage them further. All carriers must now allow emotional support animals to board flights – but as an indicator, they must select their airplanes based on the probability of successful trips. The selected plane must be pet-free. To balance liability, the airlines must have a tracking system for emotional support animals. If an

animal is reported missing from the aircraft, the airline will have one week to report it to the FAA. Consumer affairs and travel concerns that used to be in the FCC’s domain – read, flyers being told they couldn’t bring laptops on flights – are now at the FAA’s domain. An emotional support animal is a non-owned, professionally trained animal like a service animal, which helps physically or mentally ill people with

their daily activities. They are well documented, with reports that are in the public domain and vetted by appropriate agencies. Some of the reasons they are legal is that they have an owner or handler and can “compliment and assist” passengers. The application of an animal and being ridden by an airline employee fits this definition. The ban on emotional support animals is broad – it includes dogs, cats, rabbits,

spiders, iguanas, spiders and birds. There’s an exemption if an emotional support animal performs routine veterinary work, such as medicine given to someone with diabetes or diabetes medications. Even with the ban lifted, there are some states that don’t allow emotional support animals in flights Private citizens may adopt and train these animals. But if their trainings aren’t approved by an appropriate agency they

can be impounded. The FAA has also issued requirements for state-issued training, including drug testing. The agency does not require the training, but says all approvals should come from an agency considered reputable. Emotional support animals are often court-ordered to act as therapy. People claim an ability to not express emotions or demonstrate states of distress, including depression, mania and anxiety, which

could otherwise cause flight delays for people who are anxious on flights. Unfortunately, there’s no DNA test to determine if a support animal needs to board an aircraft or what type it is. Emotional support animals: how can I tell if my animal needs to fly? Read more Most states have laws that limit or prohibit the feeding of a support animal to oxygen in several of the cases. Again, if one is on an approved

passenger list and their support animal is impounded, it might take some time before the animal is returned. The emotional support animal must be re-approved by the state of residence before it can fly with the carrier. As for emotional support animals being on flights, if you’re flying from the US to Europe or to Australia you may notice little changes. But if your plan has a non-US stopover and travels through

Asia, you should expect to see some change. Another part of the FAA’s revised directive: if you’re traveling domestically between the US and North America, you’ll now be able to bring emotional support animals on flights. Though President Trump is fond of tweeting about his constituents, his administration seems to be getting a little better at governing at home.

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