American Airlines Says No To Insects, Goats & Hedgehogs


"We support the rights of customers, from veterans to people with disabilities, with legitimate needs for a trained service or support animal", American Airlines said in a press release.

American will now enforce the existing 48-hour advanced notice and pre-clearance policy for emotional support animals - including dogs and cats - where passengers must submit documents 48 hours ahead of flight time showing that permitted animals are healthy, trained and there at the recommendation of a mental health professional.

The airline said the animal did not fit its guidelines for support animals.

But American is also limiting what types of support animals can be brought on the plane. However, emotional support and service animals can not take up a seat or block an aisle. Shortly afterward, it updated its rules for support animals, requiring owners to provide proof of an animal's health and swear it will be well-behaved. From 2016 to 2017, American alone saw a 40 percent spike in passengers traveling with service or support animals.

Now, American Airlines has followed suit with stricter rules that bar emotional support goats, amphibians and ferrets from flights, along with some other unusual animals.

A number of groups were consulted by American for its new policy, including the American Association of People with Disabilities, Paralyzed Veterans of America, the American Council for the Blind and My Blind Spot.

Albert Rizzi, the organization's founder, who is legally blind, stressed in an American Airlines employee podcast on Monday that the changes being made by the airline will not affect those who rely on trained service animals.

Travelers must also fill out a form conforming to behavior guidelines for their support animal, including agreeing that if the animal can not be well-behaved on the flight, it will be treated as a pet and all pet fees will apply.

The airline said in a statement that it would ban a number of support animals, effective July 1.

American will also train its employees on how better to distinguish a support animal from a pet.

"We're tightening things down a little bit, because as you know, we've had some incidents in the past on our aircraft and we want to make sure that the safety of everyone, including support animals, is protected", Boda said.