Emotional Support Animals on Airplanes

oldman

Well-known member
Joined
Jan 14, 2013
Location
PA
Looks like Southwest is leading the charge to limit what animals can be brought onboard the aircraft. I recently received the following link to Southwest's new policy and thought at least some of you may like to take a look at it.

Before I retired, there was little to no policy from my airline regarding what animals could or couldn't be brought onboard. Service animals have hardly ever been an issue, but people with all sorts of animals have claimed them as "emotional support animals" for various reasons and of course number one is they didn't want to have to find a pet sitter or pay a boarding fee. All animals come under FAA guidelines, but unless things have changed, there is no mention as to what animals are and aren't allowed onboard.

The pilot's consensus is that they don't like having a lot of animals onboard in case an emergency presents itself and an evacuation becomes necessary. Pilots understand that there are some people that cannot leave home without their animal. The pilot's answer to that is to stay home or to drive. The argument is that if a person can't hold it together for a few hours, then driving is their answer.

I am glad that I no longer have to worry about that issue.

I hope this link works for you. https://www.airlinepilotcentral.com/articles/news/southwest-limits-emotional-support-animals-the-debate-continues.html
 

RadishRose

Well-known member
Joined
Jun 14, 2014
Location
Connecticut USA
I realize pets can and do give emotional support to people who need it. The question seems to be what kind and maybe how many.

To quote the article Oldman posted in part:

"Some passengers have tried to bring on emotional support peacocks, snakes, and even penguins."

and....

"On one United Airlines flight, an emotional support animal had its own emotional support animal." !

One airline has insisted the animal either be in a pet carrier or leashed.
 

C'est Moi

Well-known member
Joined
Dec 31, 2017
Location
Houston Y'all
More of the "all about me" mentality that is so prevalent nowadays. I avoid flying at all costs but it would annoy me to no end to be sitting next to some jerk and their emu.
 

dkay

New member
Joined
Jul 27, 2018
Location
USA
More of the "all about me" mentality that is so prevalent nowadays. I avoid flying at all costs but it would annoy me to no end to be sitting next to some jerk and their emu.
Absolutely agree
 

oldman

Well-known member
Joined
Jan 14, 2013
Location
PA
Original Poster
There are a few FAQ's that I can readily answer. The FAA does have guidelines for all animals brought onboard, so their protocol must be followed. Be sure to check the FAA and TSA websites for additional information. If I was going to fly with an emotional support animal, I wouldn't just show up at the airport with my 110 pound Doberman on a leash. I can't speak for all of the airlines, but I do know that United has a policy and that the passenger must fill out a fairly lengthy form and then wait until they receive the approval before they get to the airport. The animal must be able to fit under the seat in front of the passenger and may not block the aisle. Airlines make the passenger jump through hoops before Fluffy is allowed onboard.
 

RadishRose

Well-known member
Joined
Jun 14, 2014
Location
Connecticut USA
That makes sense.

Some people don't realize that if their animal poses a risk, the risk also affects their animal. That is exactly what my dog's emotional support animal (the goldfish) told me.
 

dkay

New member
Joined
Jul 27, 2018
Location
USA
Of course, I'm no joy to sit next to on a plane either. That's why I don't fly at all anymore. I either get a massive nosebleed or I get sick (and those anti nausea meds or ginger don't work). I'm sure someone would rather have a comfort chicken next to them instead of me.
 

oldman

Well-known member
Joined
Jan 14, 2013
Location
PA
Original Poster
Of course, I'm no joy to sit next to on a plane either. That's why I don't fly at all anymore. I either get a massive nosebleed or I get sick (and those anti nausea meds or ginger don't work). I'm sure someone would rather have a comfort chicken next to them instead of me.
I know that you would not be interested in this, but someone else may be. There is a patch that I have been told is really great for air sickness. This was told to me by a passenger that actually had to use the little white bag. I wrote the name down of the medicine and have actually memorized it because I have recommended it several times. The name of the medicine is Scopolamine. A prescription is also necessary. I actually looked this name up just to be sure that I spelled it correctly. In doing so, I read about the dosage and so on and it also stated that it is also used in operating rooms and given to patients so that they do not get sick with the anesthesia. Just a suggestion to those that get air sickness or actually any type of terrible motion sickness. Otherwise, Dramamine is as good as anything that anyone may be able to purchase over the counter.
 

dkay

New member
Joined
Jul 27, 2018
Location
USA
Thanks, I'm going to have to check that out. My sister lives on the West coast and if I fly then I'm usually so sick it takes a couple days to recover (dramamine hasn't worked for me). Driving is almost as bad, mountain roads in high elevations do the same thing only it's worse since I'm trying to drive. I'm such a whiny flat lander. Needless to say, anesthesia also makes me sick. I've written the name down, will talk to the doc at my next visit, maybe I'll be able to travel a bit more. I'd really like that. Ayr saline gel has helped reduce the nosebleeds when I drive to Denver, haven't tried it at a higher altitude than that though.
 

AZ Jim

Old, alone and tired...
Joined
Nov 28, 2014
Location
SURPRISE, ARIZONA
Support animals (not seeing eye, hearing impaired) are a joke. What kind of weaklings have we become? I could go on and on about this subject but I'll spare you.
 

jujube

Well-known member
What happens to someone who is super allergic to the animal on the plane? Folks aren’t notified of the offending animal.
As it stands right now, the person with the service or emotional support animal holds all the "rights", right or wrong...... They'll try to put the allergic person as far as possible away from the animal, but if that's not good enough, the allergic person gets deboarded and put on a later flight (hopefully without any animals). I think the same thing goes for just ordinary animals traveling with their owners, but there don't seem to be a lot of them anymore....they've miraculously turned into emotional supports instead of just pets".
 

RadishRose

Well-known member
Joined
Jun 14, 2014
Location
Connecticut USA
Oh my, that doesn't sound like the answer, but what would be? I could never put anything living into the baggage hold .

Hmmm, the first airline that develops a safe, comfortable, warm and sequestered pet area might just pull ahead of all the others. I know, I'm dreaming.

BTW, I wouldn't mind having an emotional support penguin... I love those little guys.
 

Don M.

Well-known member
Joined
Nov 3, 2014
Location
central Missouri
I can understand a Blind person needing to have their dog with them, but that's about as far as my tolerance goes. Personally, I would Not want to be on a flight with someone who is so disturbed that they need an animal for "emotional" support.
 

oldman

Well-known member
Joined
Jan 14, 2013
Location
PA
Original Poster
As it stands right now, the person with the service or emotional support animal holds all the "rights", right or wrong...... They'll try to put the allergic person as far as possible away from the animal, but if that's not good enough, the allergic person gets deboarded and put on a later flight (hopefully without any animals). I think the same thing goes for just ordinary animals traveling with their owners, but there don't seem to be a lot of them anymore....they've miraculously turned into emotional supports instead of just pets".
This is a pretty good answer, however, there is a bit more to it than what was explained. Service animals are boarded regardless and without any documentation. The animals must meet certain criteria, such as they are not allowed to sit in the aisle. Service animals may not show any aggression, including barking at other passengers.

United is mostly lenient with these animals, but each airline has their own policy. I do believe that the policy regarding service animals is pretty consistent among all airlines. OTOH, emotional support animals are subject to the airlines’ policy. That would include having documentation from the passenger’s physician or psychiatrist stating the passenger’ necessity to have their animal with them. The letter may not be more than ten days old, but that rule is sometimes deviated from depending on other issues.

When there is is an issue with an animal, the Purser will notify the Captain, who will then adjudicate the situation. We do try to keep everyone happy and if we can move a passenger without the animal to alleviate the situation, then so be it. In my case, if a passenger without the animal had an issue with an animal sitting near them, I would move them to first class or business class if there were seats available. That always settled the issue.

In in any case, people who are taking animals onboard should consult with their airline at least a few days before their flight. This will give both parties an opportunity to straighten out any misconceptions regarding the airline’s policy regarding their animal.

Lastly, I will state to everyone that the pilots do not like dealing with these situations. It interferes and is a distraction from doing their job at hand. Most pilots believe that if people cannot keep it together for a few hours, perhaps they should drive. This only applies to emotional support animals.
 

oldman

Well-known member
Joined
Jan 14, 2013
Location
PA
Original Poster
I was speaking with another friend of mine who is also a retired pilot and I brought up the issue of Service and Emotional Support animals. He mentioned something that I had forgotten about. Just before I retired, there was a F/O (First Officer) who brought onboard his dog, which was a Pug as his support animal. The Captain refused to fly with him. Neither my friend or I know how he made out with that. I don't know or have I heard if members of the flight crew are permitted to bring on animals.

Has anyone else heard anything about this issue? I am going to check with another fellow that I know, who is still flying, but will be retiring come next April.
 

Top