American Airlines banning ferrets, goats and hedgehogs from flights

Daniel Fowler
May 15, 2018

"Unfortunately, untrained animals can lead to safety issues for our team, our customers and working dogs onboard our aircraft".

These are the animals now also restricted from flying as support animals aboard American Airlines flights per the airline's latest animal restrictions.

Under American's new guidelines, insects, hedgehogs and goats join a list of restricted animals that includes amphibians, ferrets, reptiles, rodents, snakes, spiders, sugar gliders, non-household birds, animals with tusks, horns or hooves, and animals that are unclean or have an odor. The form mandates that emotional support animals be kept on a leash or harness throughout the flight, and says that the animal can be denied travel if it exhibits "any severely aggressive behavior". American Airlines said that between 2016 and 2017, the number of customers transporting service or support animals aboard their planes rose by more than 40%. American has hubs in Charlotte, Chicago, Dallas/Fort Worth, Los Angeles, Miami, New York, Philadelphia, Phoenix and Washington, D.C. American is a founding member of the oneworld® alliance, whose members serve more than 1,000 destinations with about 14,250 daily flights to over 150 countries.

The new rules take effect on July 1. Miniature horses are still OK, as long as they have been properly trained as service animals.

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"We're tightening things down a little bit, because as you know, we've had some incidents in the past on our aircraft and we want to make sure that the safety of everyone, including support animals, is protected", Boda said.

A number of groups were consulted by American for its new policy, including the American Association of People with Disabilities, Paralyzed Veterans of America, the American Council for the Blind and My Blind Spot.

In April, U.S. Sen.

Comfort animals must fit at a passenger's feet without occupying a seat or blocking an aisle, under the policy. They said the increased number of customers also brought an increase in the number of onboard incidents involving those animals. None of the restrictions affect American's service animal policy, which specifically applies to animals that are trained to assist people with disabilities. That could put Burr at odds with mental health advocates who see emotional support animals as a crucial part of treatment for some people with mental disabilities.

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