United Airlines to No Longer Accept 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 accepted for new travel by United Airlines to become effective as of Monday, January 11, 2021.

United Airlines to No Longer Accept Emotional Support Animals Aboard Its Airplanes

United Airlines

Photograph ©2016 by Brian Cohen.

Only official service dogs will be permitted for transportation aboard airplanes on flights operated by United 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, United Airlines will accept a maximum of two service dogs per passenger in the cabin, which includes psychiatric service dogs. 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 United 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.

United 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 Sunday, February 28, 2021. No emotional support animals will be accepted for travel after Sunday, February 28, 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 United Airlines — which follows similar policies which were announced by Delta Air Lines on Friday, January 8, 2021; by Alaska Airlines on Tuesday, December 29, 2020; and by American Airlines on Tuesday, January 5, 2021 — 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 ©2006, ©2013, ©2016, and ©2018 by Brian Cohen.

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