Sorry, no chickens, spiders or sugar gliders on this American Airlines flight. Miniature horses might still be OK, though.
American Airlines has joined United, Delta and Alaska Airlines in tightening rules for emotional support animals on its flights. It has also formally banned a long list of critters.
Starting July 1, the nation’s largest air carrier will require travelers with “psychiatric service” animals to contact American’s Special Assistance Desk 48 hours prior to departure with a form or letter from a mental health professional, as well as another form attesting that the animal won’t relieve itself on the flight.
The new rules totally forbid cabin entry for amphibians, ferrets, goats, hedgehogs, insects, reptiles, rodents, spiders, sugar gliders, “non-household” birds and almost any animal with tusks, horns or hooves. The exception is a miniature horse trained as a service animal—unless the horse is unclean or has an odor, which is not allowed in any animal.
No animal may growl, attempt to bite anyone or lunge at other passengers. Nor may they protrude or block aisles, occupy a seat or eat from tray tables. If an animal is “smaller than a 2-year-old child,” it may sit on its owner’s lap, according to the new regulations.
Service animals in general are still allowed if they are “specifically trained to perform functions for individuals with disabilities,” such as deafness, blindness and mobility impairments.
“As the requirements for transporting each type of animal differ,” the airline said, “our employees are trained to ask certain questions to determine the classification applicable to your animal.”