American Airlines updates support animal policy

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From 2016 to 2017, American alone saw a 40 percent spike in passengers traveling with service or support animals. "Unfortunately, untrained animals can lead to safety issues for our team, our customers and working dogs onboard our aircraft". The use of such animals on flights has ballooned in recent years.

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

Insects, goats and hedgehogs can not be brought on planes as emotional support animals.

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"We support the rights of customers, from veterans to people with disabilities, with legitimate needs for a trained service or support animal", American Airlines said in a statement. Now, the airline is cracking down. Passengers must provide documentation signed by a doctor or licensed mental health professional, and provide proof that the animal is clean and healthy.

At the time, the unidentified woman was prohibited from bringing the peacock on the flight from Newark Liberty International Airport even after she bought the bird its own ticket. Owners must also vouch for the animal and that it won't have disruptive behavior such as growling or lunging at fellow travelers. This includes not only insects, goats and hedgehogs, but also ferrets, spiders, and non-household birds, like chickens and hawks.

They must be leashed or have a harness and may not growl, bite, or jump. Unclean animals, or animals with an odor, are banned, too.

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Oh, but mini horses are okay, as long they are properly trained as a service animal. The airline's revised rules go into effect on July 1.

Emotional support and service animals are allowed to fly in the cabin at no extra fee provided they are fully trained, but American Airlines emphasized it would enforce all pet requirements and applicable fees if the animal did not meet its travel criteria. Travelers must also fill out a form conforming to behavior guidelines for their support animal, including agreeing that if the animal can not be well-behaved on the flight, it will be treated as a pet and all pet fees will apply.

Earlier this year United Airlines tightened its service animals' policy after an incident in which a passenger tried to bring a peacock on a flight as an emotional support animal.

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