American Airlines to No Longer Authorize Emotional Support Animals Aboard Its Airplanes

As a result of the final rule which was issued by the Department of Transportation of the United States — which amends the Air Carrier Access Act regulation pertaining to the transportation of service animals via airplane — emotional support animals will no longer be authorized for new travel by American Airlines to become effective as of Monday, January 11, 2021.

American Airlines to No Longer Authorize Emotional Support Animals Aboard Its Airplanes

American Airlines

Photograph ©2018 by Brian Cohen.

Only official service dogs will be authorized for transportation aboard airplanes on flights operated by American Airlines as of Monday, January 11, 2021, as bona fide service dogs are specially trained to perform tasks for the benefit of a qualified individual with a disability.

Furthermore, customers will be required to complete an official form from the Department of Transportation — which will be available at the official Internet web site of American Airlines beginning Monday, January 11, 2021 — attesting that his or her animal is a legitimate service dog; is trained and vaccinated; and will behave appropriately for the duration of the journey.

For reservations which are booked:

  • Greater than 48 hours prior to travel, customers must submit the completed form via e-mail message.
  • Fewer than 48 hours prior to travel, customers must submit the completed form in person to the Customer Service Agent upon arrival at the airport.
dog pet Jakie

Photograph ©2016 by Brian Cohen.

Our team is motivated by a purpose to care for people on life’s journey, and we believe these policy changes will improve our ability to do just that,” Jessica Tyler — who is the current president of cargo and vice president of airport excellence at American Airlines — was quoted in this official press release from the airline. “We’re confident this approach will enable us to better serve our customers, particularly those with disabilities who travel with service animals, and better protect our team members at the airport and on the aircraft.

American Airlines will continue to accept emotional support animals under its current policy for reservations booked prior to Monday, January 11, 2021, for flights on or before Monday, February 1, 2021. No emotional support animals will be accepted for travel after Monday, February 1, 2021.

Summary

Easter Island dog

Photograph ©2019 by Brian Cohen.

Do not be surprised if other airlines soon adopt a similar policy to the one announced by American Airlines — which follows a similar policy which was announced by Alaska Airlines on Tuesday, December 29, 2020 — pertaining to the banning of emotional support animals aboard its airplanes.

Meanwhile, I have written extensively over the years pertaining to service dogs and emotional support animals in the form of articles posted here at The Gate — including:

All photographs ©2013, ©2016, ©2018, and ©2019 by Brian Cohen.

2 thoughts on “American Airlines to No Longer Authorize Emotional Support Animals Aboard Its Airplanes”

  1. tim says:

    I think you mean “allow”, not “authorize”

    1. Brian Cohen says:

      Although I agree, tim, I used the verbiage from the official press release — and the bolded part was emphasized by me:

      “When the rule goes into effect Jan. 11, American will no longer authorize new travel for animals that do not meet that definition, such as emotional support animals.”

      http://news.aa.com/news/news-details/2021/American-Airlines-Announces-Changes-to-Policies-for-Travel-with-Emotional-Support-Animals-Service-Animals-OPS-POL-01/

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