Hey United Airlines…why do you have to do us like that!? Apparently, the airline is updating its policy concerning emotional support animals allowed on their flights. The airline announced it will no longer allow flyers to bring emotional support animals, other than dogs or cats. Animals must be at least 4 months or older to qualify since younger pets don’t have all the necessary vaccination to ensure the well-being of their customer and employees.
United stated the new policy will be implemented on flights longer than eight hours. The reason as to why the new rules were placed? The company has allegedly seen an increase 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”.
Service animals, unlike emotional support animals, are trained to assist a qualified person with a disability, including deafness, visual limitations, mobility limitation, and seizures. United Airlines stated these animals are still accepted on flights as long as they are a cat, dog, or miniature horse.
The new policy is said to take effect on January 7, though United says travelers who booked their flights before the day of the announcement and have appropriate paperwork will be allowed to board with pets under previous guidelines.
The decision comes less than a month after Delta Airlines made a similar change, announcing their plan to tighten restriction and an emotional support animal form flight longer than 8 hours as well. The airline also stated that support and training service animals need to be at least 4 months old. This follows an 84 percent increase in defecation, attack incidents, and urination.
Surprisingly, passengers in recent years have brought animals other than dogs and cats, including a pig, turkey, and a duck, as emotional support animals. Last year, United denied boarding to a passenger traveling with an emotional support peacock. It’s no wonder all these policy changes are rolling in. This is why we can’t have nice things people.