United Airlines has joined Alaska, American, and Delta in banning emotional support animals onboard its flights.
United Airlines Bans Emotional Support Animals
Emotional support animals will no longer be allowed for tickets booked on or after January 11, 2021. Effective March 1, emotional support animals will not be allowed regardless of when the ticket was booked.
After a Department of Transportation rulemaking last month placed discretion into the hands of airlines, several have curbed the allowance of emotional support animals. United joins other U.S. legacy carriers including Alaska, American, and Delta in banning emotional support animals for bookings on or after January 11th.
The new rules, however, allow a loophole for so-called “Psychiatric Service Animals,” These animals can be self-trained and no paperwork is necessary beyond a self-attestation form that the dog is well-behaved. Furthermore, the DOT rules now mandate that airlines cannot restrict dogs based upon breed or type. United notes:
Effective January 11, service animals will be defined as a dog, regardless of the breed or type, that is over the age of four months and individually trained to do work or perform tasks for the benefit of a qualified individual with a disability, including a physical, sensory, psychiatric, intellectual, or other mental disability.
Look for many customers to continue to engage in shenanigans under this loophole. At least it will only be with dogs…
If you still wish to take your emotional support animal onboard prior to March 1st, you must book your ticket today or tomorrow (before midnight CT). United will join other legacy U.S. carriers in banning emotional support animals, though a glaring loophole remains in place.