Two weeks ago Delta announced a supposed crackdown on fake emotional support animals. All they really did in practice was say they’ll require advance notice, proof of health and vaccinations, and insist passengers attest that their animal can behave.
That’s been reported to be some sort of revolutionary step in the face of an 86% increase in emptional support animals onboard Delta planes since 2016. In practice it’s unlikely to do much other than symbolically.
United joined Delta in requiring notes that confirm the animal’s health from a veterinarian and that confirm the animal’s training to behave in a public setting, to avoid problems with urination or defecation during the flight.
…Delta and United have expanded the list of prohibited animals to include hedgehogs, ferrets, possums known as sugar gliders and non-household birds
United says they’ve seen a 75% increase in emotional support animals on board, growing “from 43,000 in 2016 to 76,000 last year, according to Charlie Hobart, a United spokesman.” They also say they’ve been reviewing their policy since last year — but of course actually made a decision to change their policy once Delta did, and decided their new policy would be what Delta said theirs was going to be.
The move comes after the viral video of the emotional support peacock that was denied carriage on United Airlines under their current approach.
Actually getting serious about emotional support animals might look something like this:
- Require a veterinarian’s note about the fitness of the animal to travel around other people not a self-certification from the passenger
- Require insurance provided by the passenger
- Require that the pet either fit underneath the seat or in a paid-for seat next to the passenger
- Require that in all cases that they remain inside a carrier while inflight although not necessarily under a seat.