Alexdk
Topic Author
Posts: 194
Joined: Thu Oct 01, 2015 9:08 pm

Emotional support animals

Sun Jul 08, 2018 3:10 pm

Recently on I saw a couple taking their labrador to a business class cabin on a KLM Transatlantic flight. As I understand, virtually no airline in the world would allow such a large dog just as a cabin passenger. Indeed, that dog had a “support animal” lable. So I have a number of questions. Do I understand correctly that a stronger condition is not the animal being certified as ESA, but YOU NEEDING an ESA? Is it quite easy to get such proof from a doctor? If no, do people “bribe” doctors to get such a paper? Do people often “bribe” veterinarians to get their animals certified as an ESA? Do people often “bribe” airlines/ their employees to get your animal on board as an ESA even though they have no proof that it is such or that they need one? If you are traveling business/first class, are airlines more willing to “close their eyes” on the fact that your animal is not really an ESA/ you have no proof you need one? Do some airlines indeed allow officially very well trained non-ESA domestic animals to travel in cabin/ do you think it would be a good idea?
 
avgeekjohn
Posts: 34
Joined: Sun May 27, 2018 2:24 pm

Re: Emotional support animals

Sun Jul 08, 2018 3:32 pm

Please correct me if I'm wrong, but as I understand this, at least in the United States, you don't need a doctor's approval to bring an emotional support animal on a flight but instead just need to fill out some paperwork. I know that some US carriers are starting to require proof that you have a condition that requires an emotional support animal because people were starting to get crazy with the types of animals they were bringing on (remember the peacock?). I'm not sure about non-US airlines, though.
Holding short of life's runway
 
DL747400
Posts: 433
Joined: Mon Sep 01, 2008 4:04 pm

Re: Emotional support animals

Sun Jul 08, 2018 4:15 pm

Emotional Service Animals are a complete joke in the USA. People declare their pets as "emotional support animals" in order to circumvent policies and fees which would otherwise apply to the transport of live animals. Fortunately, many U.S. carriers are becoming much more aggressive about finding ways to make it much more difficult for these scammers to do so, while still operating within the law. It is worth noting that many groups which represent the rights and interests of those who are genuinely affected by some type of legitimate disability see the amount of fraud that is taking place and are working closely with the airlines behind the scenes to help them weed out these bad apples.
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rjsampson
Posts: 250
Joined: Sat Jul 31, 2010 12:00 am

Re: Emotional support animals

Mon Jul 09, 2018 10:21 pm

DL747400 wrote:
Emotional Service Animals are a complete joke in the USA. People declare their pets as "emotional support animals" in order to circumvent policies and fees which would otherwise apply to the transport of live animals. Fortunately, many U.S. carriers are becoming much more aggressive about finding ways to make it much more difficult for these scammers to do so, while still operating within the law. It is worth noting that many groups which represent the rights and interests of those who are genuinely affected by some type of legitimate disability see the amount of fraud that is taking place and are working closely with the airlines behind the scenes to help them weed out these bad apples.


Indeed, this is true. In the US, there is no certifying authority for "service animals." The American with Disabilities Act simply requires that a medical Service Animal be only specifically trained to assist its handler with a disability. And there is no standard of proof for that, either. More and more policies specify that "Emotional Support Animals" are NOT "Service Animals."

I've flown with my rather large German Shepherd in the cabin multiple times (and the crew is very accommodating). That said, he is a legitimate Service Animal that assists with loss vision in my right eye, along with another condition. In the past, I didn't need to provide anything, other than call ahead and let them know I would be travelling with a large Service Dog. Their first question would be: "Is this an Emotional Support Animal," to which I would say "no," and that would be that. He's on the plane.

I'm glad to see Airlines cracking down on this. (I have multiple supporting documents indicating that my dog is well-trained, and I require him to be with me in most situations.

On one occasion, a perfectly healthy-looking individual's clearly untrained pitbull attacked my dog (who is trained to not engage). That wasn't a good situation. Fortunately, I had taken the flight on multiple occasions with the same airline; the flight attendants were familiar and my dog and me, and the owner with the aggressive animal was booted from the plane.
"..your eyes will be forever turned skyward, for there.." yeah we know the DaVinci quote. But GA is so dang expensive these days! :(

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