American Airlines has unveiled proposed changes to its policies and procedures, allowing individuals with disabilities to travel with service animals.
Meanwhile, animals that previously traveled as emotional support animals and no longer qualify as service animals may travel as carry-on pets or as cargo pets, as long as they meet the requirements.
The forthcoming changes are in line with regulations that were issued recently by the U.S. Department of Transportation or DOT.
As per the DOT’s new rule, a service animal is a dog that is individually trained to do work or perform tasks for the benefit of a qualified individual with a disability — a narrower definition than in the past.
The Fort Worth, Texas-based airline noted that when the rule goes into effect January 11, it will no longer authorize new travel for animals that do not meet that definition, such as emotional support animals. Existing bookings involving emotional support animals will be honored through February 1, when the airline’s new policies go into effect.
Starting February 1, American will ask customers traveling with service animals to complete a DOT form attesting to the dog’s behavior, training and health.
This form needs to be submitted electronically 48 hours in advance of a flight, unless the reservation is booked within 48 hours of travel. The authorization for a service animal will be valid for one year or until the expiration of its vaccinations.
The service animal forms, along with further new policy details, will be available on the company website in the coming days.
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