16 MAY 2018: If you haven’t noticed by now, weird emotional support animal stories irritate the hell out of me. But, a ray of sunshine, American Airlines has updated its emotional support animal policy with a long list of animal breeds soon to be banned from flying.

So, pay attention emotional animal owners, starting July 1, no more ferrets, goats, spiders and hedgehogs will be accepted although (heaven help us) trained miniature horses make the cut.

Also on the no-fly list are non-household birds (leave your ostrich at home), animals with tusks or horns (rhinos? elephants? Horned owls would fit both categories), amphibians, insects, rodents and sugar gliders, which are hand-sized marsupials (who knew). Reptiles are also forbidden.


Animals that 'display any form of disruptive behavior' will also be grounded, though American didn’t specify what would happen to those disruptive critters once the flight was underway.

Any animals that are unclean or have an odour get to stay home -though if the person in the seat beside you fits the bill – tough!

American will also require those flying with an emotional support animal to submit a form at least 48 hours prior to their flight signed by their licensed mental health professional stating their recognized mental or emotional disability and why they need the animal.

"We support the rights of customers, from veterans to people with disabilities, with legitimate needs for a trained service or support animal. Unfortunately, untrained animals can lead to safety issues for our team, our customers and working dogs onboard our aircraft," the airline said in a statement. And no one would argue that - it’s the cheaters we want to nab.

AA said its personnel have been trained to ask the appropriate questions to determine whether an animal is applicable as an emotional support companion.

In Canada, both Air Canada and WestJet permit travelling with emotional support animals, although with some conditions.

Air Canada says it only accepts dogs as emotional support or psychiatric service animals.

WestJet accepts dogs, cats, miniature horses, pigs and monkeys as emotional support animals on its flights, subject to import and export conditions on international flights.

WestJet's website also says that other "unusual animals" may be accepted as an emotional support animal on a case-by-case basis, although snakes, reptiles, ferrets, rodents and spiders are not permitted due to safety or public health issues.

Both Canadian carriers say they require 48 hours advance notice and supporting documentation for flying with an emotional support animal.



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