ESA Weekly News Report July 30th: Looking Back at American Airlines ESA Changes and ESA Bites Flight Attendant and 

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emotional support animals reading the news
We work hard every week to bring you the latest emotional support animal news. This week we have two stories hot off the press. The first is about a flight attendant who was bitten by an emotional support dog. The second is a reflection on the changes made to the American Airlines ESA policy back in April.

Reflecting on ESA Policy Changes to American Airlines

It’s been almost three months after American Airlines’ ESA policy update. It went into effect in April and closed a loophole in the previous ESA policy. Now, only dogs and cats are allowed in-cabin. All other animals are banned, as are short-nosed breeds. Passengers are also limited to one ESA on each flight.

This wasn’t the first ESA policy change done by the company. In 2018, American Airlines put emotional support goats, amphibians, and birds on the no-flight list. The new policy came about after several incidents with untrained animals of larger size aboard flights.

Both the 2018 and the latest policy changes have been welcomed by the public. Fewer passengers complain of animal misbehavior on American Airlines flights. There are also less unpleasant confrontations at airports because of unruly ESAs.

Overall, the updated ESA policies have yielded positive results and the company stands by its animal security protocols.

emotional support dog pomeranian on a plane


Emotional Support Dog Bites Flight Attendant on Plane

An American Airlines flight attendant has received five stitches after being bitten by an emotional support dog. The incident took place aboard Flight 3506 from Dallas to Greensboro, North Carolina. The flight was operated by Envoy Air, an American Airlines partner.

As soon as the plane landed in North Carolina, the flight attendant was allowed to return to Dallas. There, he received medical treatment. The injury required five stitches.

The airline did not reveal what kind of dog was involved in the accident this past Monday. However, we do know it was an emotional support animal with a valid ESA letter.

This has led the Association of Flight Attendants (AFA) to ask the Department of Transportation to act. According to them, it’s the Department’s responsibility to tighten regulations on what animals are allowed aboard.

basset hound dog looking guilty


CertaPet’s Thoughts on This Week’s News

We hate reading about negative experiences with emotional support animals. Our heart goes out to the flight attendant and we wish him a speedy recovery.

Despite ESAs not needing to be trained, they should behave themselves around others. It’s important for owners to socialize their dogs, especially if they’re planning on traveling with them. We’re all for airlines refusing dogs who seem aggressive to other passengers, and air or ground crew.

We are completely in favor of all the updates made to the American Airlines ESA policy. They are steps in the right direction. Any animal can be an ESA, which is great. But if you plan on flying with your ESA, it is your responsibility to ensure that your dog is socialized and under your control at all times.

Starting the process of getting an ESA is simple with our thorough 5-minute pre-screening. If your answers flag you as a possible ESA owner, we will put you in touch with a licensed mental health professional (LMHP). They will book an appointment with you and, if you qualify, issue your ESA letter.

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