This week a leading airline has once again tweaked its policy for emotional support animals, upending the travel plans of many customers. Following on from numerous changes to policies in 2018, this year looks set to bring more changes in the airline industry that restrict the animals allowed on board.
Many airlines have whittled pets allowed on board down to just cats and dogs, after a number of unfortunate squirrel, peacock, hamster (…the list goes on…) incidents.
If this change in policy is any indication of things to come this year, we could be seeing a lot more policy updates. If you’re planning to fly with United, here’s the lowdown on everything you need to know about the changes!
United Updates Its ESA Policy Once Again
One of the biggest carriers in the U.S., United Airlines, has changed its emotional support animal policy once again, banning still more animals from its flights.
United announced on Thursday that it will no longer allow animals other than cats, dogs, and miniature horses, or puppies and kittens under 4 months old aboard their flights as emotional support animals. In addition to this, ESAs and pets will no longer be allowed in the cabin of flights longer than eight hours.
The airline says that the age restriction on animals allowed aboard has been changed to reflect the vaccination schedule of puppies and kittens, and to keep any other pets on board healthy and safe.
It also released a statement regarding the new flight time restriction for animals.
United Airline’s New Flight Time Restrictions for Animals
“We have seen increases in onboard incidents on longer flights involving these animals, many of which are unaccustomed to spending an extended amount of time in the cabin of an aircraft,” the airline wrote on its website.
The changes to the policy will come into effect on January 7. However, passengers who booked their flight before the announcement was made (January 3) are not bound by the new policy announcement and only require appropriate documentation for their trip.
The changes at United follow on after Delta made the same changes recently, and it seems more airlines could follow the policy changes in the future.
CertaPet’s View on United’s Policy Changes
Tighter policies from airlines regarding ESAs can be frustrating for passengers, however, they are a good thing overall for those with genuine emotional support animals. With more stringent rules and regulations, there is less confusion, and therefore a smaller incidence of bad news involving these vital animals!
Despite the new changes from United and other airlines, it is still simple to fly with a cat or dog as an ESA. Simply by following airline restrictions, it’s simple to take your animal wherever you need it with an ESA letter.
CertaPet has made the process of getting an ESA letter quick and simple! Simply start by taking our free online 5-minute pre-screening. If your answers indicate that you may qualify for an ESA, we will connect you with a licensed mental health professional (LMHP) and you could have your ESA letter in as little as 48 hrs!
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