Following Delta’s move after the recent peacock incident, United Airlines is tightening up the requirements to bring an emotional service animal onboard.
Here’s what changes, effective March 01, 2018:
- The customer must provide confirmation that the animal has been trained to behave properly in a public setting and acknowledge responsibility for the animal’s behavior.
- The customer must also provide a health and vaccination form signed by the animal’s veterinarian. The veterinarian must also affirm that there is no reason to believe that the animal will pose a direct threat to the health and safety of others on the aircraft or cause a significant disruption in service.
United already requires 48 hours of notice as well as documentation from a mental health professional attesting to the need for the emotional support animal.
Note that this policy change does NOT cover service animals, like guide dogs. No advance notice or documentation is required for these animals.
United claims the number of passengers bringing emotional support animals onboard is up 75% and the airline has seen “a significant increase in onboard incidents.”
Here’s an official statement from United:
United is dedicated to providing convenient and comfortable service to all of our customers. We know that some customers require an emotional support animal to assist them through their journey. In order to ensure we provide the best service to everyone onboard our flights, consistent with government rules we currently require these customers to provide documentation from a medical professional and at least 48 hours advance notice.
Unions Love It
The Association of Flight Attendants (AFA), the union representing United FAs is also happy about the news. International President Sara Nelson cheered United latest restrictions:
The airline’s increased requirements for emotional support animals will reduce fraud and protect the legitimate need of animal assistance for passengers with disabilities and veterans. This is about maintaining safety, health and security for passengers and crew, while ensuring accessibility for those who need it.
I love that she threw “veterans” in there…it’s like the “think of the children” cliché in modern culture.
Just as I support Delta’s updated policy, I also support United’s. This is good news for those who have legitimate needs.
> Read More: Bravo! Delta Restricts Emotional Support Animals