ESA Weekly News Report September 17th: Emotional Support Pit Bulls Can Fly

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dog reading the ESA weekly news report

Much has changed regarding emotional support animals on flights. Today, we cover two big stories about this topic. The first is about a new federal guideline allowing pit bulls aboard planes. The second is a look back at the changes made by Frontier Airlines to its ESA policy a year on. Get up to speed with us.

New Rules Forbid Ban of Emotional Support Pit Bulls Aboard Flights

According to a new Department of Transportation (DOT) statement, airlines can’t ban dogs based on the breed from their flights. Until now, airlines had the right to only allow particular breeds on board. This applied to pets, emotional support animals, and service animals.

Delta Airlines, for example, will have to change its ESA policy to comply with the new DOT guidelines. So far, pit bulls were on the no-flight list simply because of their breed. Other airlines, such as American Airlines, also have breed restrictions in their ESA and pet policies.

The DOT says airlines are still welcome to ask pet owners for certificates of the animal’s health. Owners may still have to show vaccination and behavior forms to airline personnel.

On top of that, the DOT upholds the restriction of some animal species on flights. Snakes, in particular, are still forbidden from boarding a plane, both as an ESA and a pet.

emotional support dog pitbull smiling


Frontier Airlines One-Year After ESA Policy Change: Update

It has now been a year since Frontier Airlines announced changes to its ESA policy. Namely, they started only recognizing cats and dogs as emotional support animals. Meaning, no other animal species could fly protected by the Air Carrier’s Access Act (ACAA).

This change doesn’t seem outrageous now. After all, since then, many other airlines have followed Frontier Airline’s footprints. But, at the time, there were still plenty of people taking their exotic ESAs onto commercial flights.

A story of a woman being denied boarding for carrying an emotional support squirrel is a good example of this. The incident happened with a Frontier Airlines flight shortly after the new policy was put in place.

Now, there are only a few cases of exotic animals trying to board Frontier Airlines flights. Since the new-and-improved ESA policy was announced, delays and incidents due to these animals have also decreased.

Even with the new DOT guidelines, it’s unlikely that Frontier Airlines will once again accept exotic animals as assistance animals. Since they do not ban specific cat and dog breeds, not much is expected to change.

emotional support animal beagle dressed like a pilot

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CertaPet’s Thoughts on This Week’s News

As always, we like seeing additional regulations for animal travel. However, we’re pleased to see Pit Bulls aboard  flights again. This misunderstood breed can be very docile and friendly when raised correctly. It’s unfair to discriminate against them because of common misconceptions.

We’re also happy to see the changes made to Frontier Airlines’s ESA policy having a positive effect. As the Department of Transportation states, some animal species aren’t fit for safe travels. Exotic animals, such as the Cleveland-bound squirrel, could cause accidents aboard. As soon as these animals were banned, fewer incidents have been reported. It’s a win for safe travels for everyone!

Here at CertaPet, we believe in the power of animal-assisted therapy. That is why we help those with emotional and mental health disorders get an ESA. Our therapists put dogs, cats, and the occasional bunny in the hands of those who need it.

Plus, getting started is easy! All you have to do is take our free, thorough 5-minute pre-screening test. If you qualify, in no time, you’ll have your very own cuddly emotional support buddy by your side. What could be better? We will connect you with a licensed mental health professional (LMHP) in your state who can legally prescribe an ESA to you!

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