Published: Wed, May 16, 2018
Finance | By Claude Patterson

American Airlines bans rodents, spiders, reptiles as emotional support animals

American Airlines bans rodents, spiders, reptiles as emotional support animals

Furthermore, the airline said it would no longer allow non-household birds such as farm poultry, waterfowl or game birds (no birds of prey?), as well as animals with tusks, horns or hooves on flights - although apparently miniature horses that have been properly trained as service animals will still be tolerated.

Boda cited past "incidents" regarding support animals as the airline's reason for the new restrictions.

Starting on July 1, the airline will tighten its requirements on which animals can come into the cabin. Federal regulations allow passengers to bring their therapy pets into the cabin, as long as there is documentation from a licensed mental health professional testifying to the passenger's need.

If animals are observed exhibiting bad behaviour, and the owner does not attempt to correct it, the animal will be treated as a pet and a fee will be applied, the airline says.

Photos of a peacock, which a passenger in New Jersey tried to bring onto a plane, went viral earlier this year after United banned the flightless bird from travelling.

Starting July 1, American Airlines passengers can not bring their goats or hedgehogs, spiders or sugar gliders, or any creatures with tusks, horns or hooves on board as service animals or for emotional support.

From 2016 to 2017, the airline said it saw a 40 percent rise in service or support animals on its aircraft - similar to increases at other airlines like Delta and United, which made similar changes this year.

The airline said it met with a number of disability groups to get their input before making the changes, including My Blind Spot, an organization that works to make environments more accessible to everyone, regardless of disability.

The airlines is also forbidding any animal that is unclean and or has an odour. But NBC News found a cottage industry of websites where doctors are willing to write letters certifying that a traveler would benefit from having an emotional support animal, or ESA, during the flight.

Air Canada says it only accepts dogs as emotional support or psychiatric service animals.

Passengers will now have to notify the carrier 48 hours in advance and then sign a waiver.

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