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United Airlines latest to end free travel for emotional-support animals

United Airlines will stop offering free travel for emotional-support animals next week. The airline announced Friday that beginning Monday, passengers will no longer be able to book travel for their furry companions, The Associated Press reports. Free travel for emotional-support animals will end Feb. 28 for anyone booking ahead of next week’s deadline. ( Daha Fazlası...

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I think 99% of us are fine with properly trained service dogs for the blind and or physically handicapped. The 99% reverses when it comes to “emotional support animals”.
Kevin Hamel 3
Oh, yeah... nicely put!
David Tsai 1
One problem is that owners are allowed to "train" their own "service" dogs. We have no way of verifying that the dog is, in fact, actually a service dog, especially when we can't ask what service they're providing.
Mike Davis 22
This is what happens when people abuse a privilege. With today's "dog craze" every pet is an "emotional support" animal.
cherokee28 17
Another case of "Abuse it, lose it" and I must say about time
scott ebrite 31
If someone is so unstable that they need an emotional support animal, perhape they should stay off of airplanes and take a bus.
C B 7
Well done United Airlines! Cheers and applause!!! I'm willing to bet that, all of a sudden, you'll see many folks emotional support problems clear up when it comes to them having to fork over that fee.

***UA sees through the BS***
Scott Campbell 10
I once had dinner with a Dog licking his chops while I ate, and I love dogs - About flipping time !!
Gary Fisher 5
Well, it looks like after 28 Feb my llama and me will be taking the bus.
ALL 'non-humans' on a plane should be in a cage in cargo. This 'support animal' business is pure nonsense, and should be stopped on every airline.
Kevin Hamel 3
David, can we include "non-human" humans as well? I have been flying for 30+ years and encountered some extremely rude and obnoxious cretins in my time. Barking dogs had better manners than some of them.

Legitimate and trained service dogs are of great use. It really irks me that folks will slap a "service dog" vest on their dog and think that will give them carte blanche to go anywhere with their "service dog" pet. A true service dog is not a pet but a legitimate medical assistive device, and they need to comply with at minimum the AKC Canine Good Citizen criteria. However, unless yet another governmental administrative department steps up and regulates the whole enchilada, we have to contend with the ADA and it's flaws.
Mike Davis 7
Yes, as I've said before, all dogs are "emotional support" animals. Why else would anyone spend the money and hassle of caring for one unless it filled some emotional need? Perhaps for a few, rare breeds are a status symbol of sorts. Like children, people love their own, but not other people's dogs/kids. If you must own a dog, keep it in a kennel or drive.
Kevin Hamel 2
Mike, I have read your previous posts and I do not disagree with you. As an owner of a service dog (for my wife), both handler and dog need to operate at an emotional level. My dog is trained to pick up dropped items, push door buttons, assist going up and down stairs and needs to be constantly aware of what is around. Both dog and handler are trained how to work together, and need to re-certify with our agency every other year. The point being here is that our dog allows my wife to live life again, and if they do their job well then we hope you will not notice them too much in the airport. Status symbol? Pfff. I could have bought a Tesla instead.

ADA rules are not perfect and are overly broad in some ways. "Emotional Support" animals without specific training certainly was a recipe for abuse by folks. Service dogs should not be allowed everywhere, especially if there is serious concern that the handler, the dog and/or other folks might be put in harm's way. However, they are spot on when asking challenging questions about a service dog. They are, in a matter of speaking, an assistive medical device. Many folks would likely be uncomfortable about explaining why they carry a cane, use a wheelchair or carry oxygen tanks, especially to some stranger on the street that has challenged their use. Our medical conditions, on the whole, is nobody's business but our own.

So if you ever see us in the airport, know that our pup will be well-behaved, ignore other animals, lay quietly at our feet when on board, and not lick their chops at you when eating a sandwich!
Mike Davis 3
Should have clarified my comment to say that Service Dogs are a specialized sub-category rather than emotional support. No one EVER contests a legitimate Service Dog. The problem is those who game the system by taking advantage of the fact that there is no way anyone can challenge the claim for a legitimate Service Dog from an ordinary emotional support dog. THAT is the issue, never a legitimate Service Dog. The dog's behavior is obvious and gives total attention to the handler.

My aggravation comes from those who present their emotional support dogs as Service Dogs. They are usually easy to spot, poorly trained, overly friendly. If they claim a Service Dog, then I have no recourse but to let them go. I know, and they know, but I can't stop them if they lie.

I know trained dogs. I worked for 20 years as a sheriff deputy with highly trained dogs. They were totally under control by the handler, sitting when told and working when needed. A squirrel could fly out of a tree and land on their head and they wouldn't flinch.
Kenn Ortmann 1
Kevin, nicely put. Like much of life, as much as we would like, it is not a binary choice. To say "all dogs are 'emotional support' animals", or "This 'support animal' business is pure nonsense" is ignorant and insensitive. To say that many people blatantly abused a system designed to provide legitimate support to those who need it is absolutely correct. It is sad, but perhaps inevitable, that some people will push boundaries that make life more difficult for those legitimately benefiting from a program or service. I might also add the airlines bear some responsibility for not having and enforcing stricter rules from the very beginning.
ADXbear 5
I just pay for my dogs to travel, under the seat in front of me, in a approved carriers..
chugheset 2
Regardless of your position on this issue, wouldn't it be refreshing if the airlines didn't all march in lockstep on everything.
Kevin Hamel 1
chugheset, my apologies that I cannot tell if you said that with sarcasm or not.

Airlines are exempt from ADA regulations, but must comply with the Air Carrier Access Act to protect individuals with disabilities while traveling by air. Airlines gleaned their rules from the ADA guidelines, but they are up to each airline's interpretation. Hence, the rules vary between the airlines.
soupy264 2
I can go along with a sight dog for a blind person. but not Emotional.
WhiteKnight77 1
As I said in the squawk about American Airlines banning emotional support animals, airlines should be able to decide which type of support animals they allow on board any aircraft.
Gail Allinson 1
It’s about time. It’s just been a free way for people to travel with pets. I’ve known people that buy an online certificate and vest, but whose animals are really just pets. Not saying pets don’t lend emotional support, they do; but untrained and poorly restrained pets have no place in the cabin. They also make it less safe in emergencies as well.

Service animals that meet criteria are fine. They always have been.
Mike Davis 5
The problem is that there is NO certification for "Service" dogs by the ADA. Anyone can go online and buy a fake certificate (that the ADA does not recognize) and a cute little vest with "Service Dog" on it. Means nothing except that they are cheaters. And authorities have no way of verifying legitimate service dogs because we can only ask if the dog is a service animal and is it trained for a specific purpose. If the answer is "yes" to both, we can only take their word for it and we cannot challenge them in any way. Huge loophole that the ADA must close.
Kevin Hamel 2
You're right, Mike. ADA did not provide any sort of certification body for "service dogs." All of the teeth of the Act is towards company owners and employers to provide accessible access to disabled persons. There are hefty fines for those that deny access to them, even for first offenses!

There is very little teeth toward the disabled person to insist that their disability and service animal are legit. A lot of these depend on a documented diagnosis from mostly M.D.s, therapists, service dog agencies, etc. Individual states are trying to fill the gap with their own laws to prevent persons from passing an untrained animal as a "service dog," but again with no standardization and/or certification body even that is going to be hit and miss. A beat cop in the city and a deputy sheriff in the sticks are going to have their own interpretations of what a "service dog" is.
Gail Allinson 1
Agreed. There needs to be recognized service animal registry for properly trained and service animals that meet criteria. Otherwise cheaters gonna cheat.
soupy264 1
Buy a fake dog vest and it flies free. Wonder what caused this.
Jim DeTour 1
Babies ought to be in the same boat. I don't see anything wrong with the miniature dogs that can sit on a lap looking around bright eyed or sleeping but the pet baby pigs and alligators can walk there. Also, anything that takes things over carry on baggage weights.
Wait til AOC hears about this!
Gary Fisher 0
I can see her already, in her eight hundred dollar outfit and thousand dollar wristwatch, crying uncontrollably (until the cameras go off) outside the kennel. :-D


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