US Transportation Department: New rules for service and emotional support animals on planes

Airlines are prohibited from banning specific breeds of dogs on board flights as service or emotional support animals! It’s the announcement made by the US Transportation Department on Thursday, amid controversy over safety and passengers who don’t respect the policies for emotional support animals, the CNN News reports.

The new rules come as a result of the Delta Air Lines controversy decision of unaccepting “pit bull type dogs” as service or emotional support animals and therefore ban them on their flights.

However, the airlines are allowed to check if the dogs are or not safe to travel. They would also have the authority to enquire people who’re planning to travel with an emotional support animal for an airport check in in order to determine if it’s or not safe to fly.

“The airline does have the authority to do an individualized assessment of any dog, every breed of dog, and if any dog — no matter the breed — is determined to pose, or deemed to pose a risk to the health or safety of other passengers, the airline is free to deny boarding,” a Department of Transportation official told in a statement.

According to media, these new guidelines rules are only temporarily as the department is developing new long-term rules, CNN News reports. As about the airlines, they have 30 days ‘to change any policies that do not comply with the interpretation.’

However, the companies representatives believe that passenger will misapply those rules. “The availability of fraudulent ESA credentials online has enabled people who are not truly in need of animal assistance to abuse the rules and evade airline policies regarding animals in the cabin,” said Airlines for America, an industry group, quoted by CNN. “With over a million passengers bringing ESAs on flights last year, airlines and airports saw a sharp increase in incidents such as biting and mauling by untrained animals.

As about Delta Air Lines, they said in a statement:

“Delta continuously reviews and enhances its policies and procedures for animals onboard as part of its commitment to health, safety and protecting the rights of customers with disabilities.”

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