DALLAS, TEXAS — According to the Associated Press, American Airlines is “banning emotional-support animals in a move that will force most owners to pay extra if they want their pets to travel with them. Way to go, American Airlines! JK. You fucked up!
The move is not surprising. Alaska Airlines also chose to ban emotional support animals after the U.S. Transportation Department decided to crack down on the companion animal epidemic, which has actually been an issue for the airline industry.
There’s been a sizable increase in the number of emotional support dogs on flights over the last few years. Dog owners only need to get a doctor’s note to clear the way for their pooch. According to AP, “a cottage industry sprang up to provide those notes along with vests and other accoutrements for their animals.”
As great as this was for the dog accessory world, it seems like the U.S. Transportation department decided it was more important to save the airline industry itself. Other airlines are expected to follow suit. They really need money.
It’s important to note that while emotional support animals will no longer be able to ride free and clear, specially trained service animals for people with physical and psychological disabilities will still be able to fly without an additional charge. That’s a relief. Banning that would be illegal, but also unbelievably shitty.
American Airlines will be charging $125 or more to bring dogs onto flights, even in kennels that fit under the seat, or crates for larger dogs that are placed in the cargo hold (a thought that makes this Men’s Humor reporter very sad, indeed).
It’s a tricky issue. On the one hand, the move legitimizes many of the dog owners who struggle with anxiety and depression and means they now have to jump through extra hoops (as a dog would, perhaps) to receive support. On the other hand, some dogs were biting people. It’s a tough line to draw.
Hopefully the economy will spring back at some point (oof) and people can bring their angels on planes with them again. Until then, it seems like folks gotta shell out some bones (lol) for their babies (dogs.)