American Airline Pet Policy Cracks Down on Allowed Emotional Support Animals

PetMD Editorial
Published: May 25, 2018
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American Airlines has made updates to their pet policies in regard to emotional support animals (ESAs).

After a litany of passengers attempting to fly with a wide variety of animals, including chickens, reptiles, rodents and the infamous peacock, American Airlines has decided to crack down on what constitutes an ESA.

They explain in their press release about the American Airlines pet policy update, “Prior to enacting these changes to our animal policy, which will become effective July 1, American had discussion with a number of disability groups to get their input, including the American Association of People with Disabilities, American Council for the Blind and My Blind Spot. 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. We appreciate the dialogue and partnership we have with these organizations.”

They explain, “Some of the changes include additional restrictions on animal types, including insects, hedgehogs and goats. American will now enforce the existing 48-hour advanced notice and pre-clearance policy for emotional support animals, but will have procedures in place for emergency travel booked within 48 hours of departure.”

Animals that have now been restricted from being considered emotional support animals due to safety and/or public health risk include:

  • Amphibians

  • Ferrets

  • Goats

  • Hedgehogs

  • Insects

  • Reptiles

  • Rodents

  • Snakes

  • Spiders

  • Sugar Gliders

  • Non-household birds (farm poultry, waterfowl, game birds and birds of prey)

  • Animals with tusks, horns or hooves (excluding miniature horses properly trained as service animals)

  • Any animal that is dirty or has an odor

For more information on American Airlines’ pet policy changes for emotional support animals, check out the American Airlines pet policy page

Read more: Emotional Support Pets Explained