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American Airlines bans some emotional support animals

16 May 2018

Any animals that are unclean or have an odour. Emotional support and service animals also can't protrude into or block aisles; occupy a seat; or eat from tray tables. They said the increased number of customers also brought an increase in the number of onboard incidents involving those animals.

Effective for tickets issued July 1 or later, American Airlines will no longer allow the following animals to be permitted as "service or emotional support animals due to safety and/or public health risk": amphibians, ferrets, goats, hedgehogs, insects, reptiles, rodents, snakes, spiders and sugar gliders.

Starting 1 July, passengers on American Airlines flights will be prohibited from flying with frogs, hedgehogs, and goats even if they are therapy animals. Now, the airline is cracking down. The airline said it would also be more active in contacting medical professionals to verify a passenger's request for an onboard comfort animal.

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For trained service animals, customers need to provide documentation stating that the animal won't need to relieve itself or can do so in a way that doesn't create a health or sanitation issue for flights scheduled to be over eight hours. Non-household birds such as chickens, ducks and hawks, animals with tusks or hooves, or any animal that is "unclean/has an odor" will also not be allowed.

The country's largest airline, which has a major hub in Miami, released its new policy Monday detailing stricter rules for flying with a furry emotional support companion.

American joins other USA carriers-including United, Delta, and Alaska-that have changed the rules about which animals are considered appropriate as flight companions.

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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.

"At American, we want to have policies and procedures in place that protect our team members and our customers who have a real need for a trained service or support animal", American said in a statement. Delta said that all passengers attempting to board with a service animal would have to show "proof", 48 hours in advance, that the animal is in good health and has been vaccinated.

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American Airlines bans some emotional support animals