Airlines tightening the leash on emotional support animals
Emotional support animals have become a great tool for passengers struggling with psychological disabilities, but for many airlines, they're getting out of control.
Within the last year, there has been a 57% increase in the number to ESAs traveling in jet cabins per day, according to ABC News.
This increase has not only worried air services, but has required many airlines to take steps towards changing their animal travel policy.
“There has been a rise in the availability of false emotional support animal credentials online, enabling people who are not truly in need of animal assistance to abuse the rules and evade airline policies on animals in the cabin,” Airlines for America said in a statement to ABC News. “We forecast that based on the current trend, the compound annual growth rate in ESAs could exceed 150 percent over the next five years.”
A few of these airlines include United, Delta, and Jet Blue.
United had a 75% increase of ESAs in the last year; they now require confirmation that animal can behave along with medical records. Delta has banned pit bulls, and Jet Blue requires advanced documentation.
“Somebody brought an emotional support animal for their emotional support animal,” said United Airlines CEO Oscar Munoz.
Airlines will continue to update their policies with the hope that they won't have to ban them altogether.