Airlines can soon deny emotional support animals free flights

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Airlines can now limit emotional support animals on flights, under a new Department of Transportation rule.
Airlines can soon deny emotional support animals free flights Dogs are now the only service animal covered by the Air Carrier Access Act.

The U.S. Department of Transportation will no longer consider emotional support animals as service animals under a new rule announced Wednesday, allowing airlines to limit the types of animals that fly for free.

In a revision to its Air Carrier Access Act, the DOT defines a service animal as a "dog, regardless of breed or type, that is individually trained to do work or perform tasks for the benefit of a qualified individual with a disability." Airlines are "not required to recognize emotional support animals as service animals and may treat them as pets," it stated.

The revision follows efforts by airlines to crack down on travelers abusing emotional support animal policies. Most service animals are dogs, though miniature horses, hamsters, pigs and even peacocks have flown as emotional support animals.

The practice has "eroded the public trust in legitimate service animals," the DOT said in its rule, which it said was prompted in part by an increase in travelers…
Meredith Deliso
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