Nation & World

American cracks down on emotional-support animals

List of banned creatures includes amphibians, goats, insects

American Airlines issued an apology after a woman said she was humiliated by airline employees when she attempted to carry luggage including breast milk and a breast pump onto a flight. (Dreamstime)
American Airlines issued an apology after a woman said she was humiliated by airline employees when she attempted to carry luggage including breast milk and a breast pump onto a flight. (Dreamstime)

American Airlines is banning hoofed, horned, creepy and crawly creatures from flying as emotional support animals. Critters displaying threatening behavior such as growling or biting won’t be allowed on board, either.

The carrier also will require 48-hour advance notice of plans to fly with an emotional or psychiatric support animal. Travelers will need to present a form signed by a mental health professional showing the disability involved, according to a post Monday on the Fort Worth, Texas-based airline’s website.

The changes take effect July 1.

American is joining other major carriers in cracking down on passengers who claim support animals to travel in the cabin at no charge, after the number of such cases soared in recent years.

Fellow travelers have been bitten by support animals in at least two cases.

Amphibians, ferrets, goats, hedgehogs, insects, spiders, snakes, rodents and sugar gliders are among the creatures banned by American for use as support animals. Non-household birds, as well as animals with tusks, horns and hoofs also are grounded.

The airline isn’t changing its policies for trained service animals used by people with visual or hearing impairments, seizures or mobility issues.

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