NORTH TEXAS (CBSDFW.COM) – Starting July 1, ferrets, goats and hedgehogs can no longer fly American Airlines, even if they’re support animals.

They’re just three of a somewhat lengthy list of barred animals the airline has put out in response to an increase in customers transporting a service or support animal onboard their aircraft — more than 40 percent from 2016 to 2017.

“We support the rights of customers, from veterans to people with disabilities, with legitimate needs for a trained service or support animal,” AA said in a statement. “Unfortunately, untrained animals can lead to safety issues for our team, our customers and working dogs onboard our aircraft.”

Some of the changes include additional restrictions on animal types, including sugar gliders and snakes. American will now enforce the existing 48-hour advanced notice and pre-clearance policy for emotional support animals, but will have procedures in place for emergency travel booked within 48 hours of departure.

For people traveling with service animals on flights longer than 8 hours, documentation is required stating the animal won’t need to relieve itself or can do so in a way that doesn’t create a health or sanitation issue.

AA employees are trained to ask certain questions to determine the classification applicable to the animal.

Trained service animals are specifically trained to perform life functions for individuals with disabilities such as visual impairments, deafness, seizures and mobility impairments.

To travel with an emotional support and psychiatric service animal in the cabin, customers must contact the Special Assistance Desk with all required documentation at least 48 hours before their flight. Documentation validation includes AA contacting their mental health professional.

The following is a breakdown of AA’s new policy.

New Rules:
Emotional / psychiatric support and fully-trained service animals can fly in the cabin at no charge if they meet the requirements.

Animals must be able to fit at the customer’s feet, under their seat or in their lap (animals to be seated on lap must be smaller than a 2-year old child). For safety reasons, customers won’t be able to sit in an exit row when traveling with their service or emotional / psychiatric support animal.

Emotional support and service animals cannot:
· Protrude into or block aisles
· Occupy a seat
· Eat from tray tables

Animal Behavior:
Emotional support and service animals must be trained to behave properly in public; they must be tethered by leash and / or harness and under your control at all times. Animals won’t be permitted in the cabin if they display any form of disruptive behavior that can’t be successfully corrected or controlled, including but not limited to:
· Growling
· Biting or attempting to bite
· Jumping on or lunging at people
If this behavior is observed at any point during the journey and isn’t corrected or controlled, the animal will be considered a pet and all pet requirements and applicable fees will apply.

Animal restrictions
Some animals can’t be permitted as service or emotional support animals due to safety and/or public health risk.
Contact special assistance
· Amphibians
· Ferrets
· Goats
· Hedgehogs
· Insects
· Reptiles
· Rodents
· Snakes
· Spiders
· Sugar gliders
· Non-household birds (farm poultry, waterfowl, game birds, & birds of prey)
· Animals with tusks, horns or hooves (excluding miniature horses properly trained as service animals)
· Any animal that is unclean / has an odor

72680600 American Airlines Announces New Support Animal Policy: Goats Not Allowed, Trained Mini Horses Are

A miniature horse stands near a show horse. (credit: Spencer Platt/Getty Images)


Comments (50)
  1. To be fair, I think all airlines should offer animal-FREE flights for people with allergies, fear of animals and just want an animal free flight.
    After all there should be an option so that we all have freedom of choice when deciding on purchasing a service (travel). Too many people are narcissistic and have no empathy or thought for other humans.
    Airlines MUST give this info up front before you purchase a ticket if you are looking for an animal free flight. Therefore all employees of the airline should have this info @ their finger tips so we as customers can make an informed purchase.

    1. Mary B. you are absolutely correct. My wife can’t be near cats at all. With the exception of dogs trained to assist blind persons, there is no reason for anyone to bring a pet within the cabin. Cargo holds are where all other animals belong. If you can survive on a plane for more than a few hours without your comfort iguana, you should be driving yourself.

      1. Trained Service Animals are not pets, however – they are legally considered medical equipment. While most people are familiar with dogs who are trained to guide people who are blind or visually impaired, dogs can be trained to do many other tasks, making them just as necessary and just as much Service Animals as those guide dogs.

  2. rusino says:

    Ridiculous! All animals weighing more than Thr should beggage or left behind. If ones Mental Health is so fragile you need emotional support, hire a Nurse or stay home.

  3. Genuine Service Animals are EXTREMELY well-trained and always neutered so an intact male dog wearing a “Service Animal” vest is always a big furry lie.

    1. That’s not true, Teri. The Americans with Disabilities Act includes NO requirements that Service Animals must be spayed or neutered. And while some organizations alter their dogs before placing them with an individual with a disability, some don’t. Being intact does not mean a dog is not a trained Service Dog.

  4. Mark Mullins says:

    I demand they allow my emotional support porcupine, or I will send off a strongly worded letter.

  5. this is really to absurd to think about,only people that are so fragile and must need a animal to help them thru life,you’ve got to be kidding,

  6. ricardoqueso says:

    I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again: If you have a psychiatric or emotional problem that makes you think you need a “support animal” in order to maintain your composure during air travel, then you are an undue safety risk, and should not be permitted to fly on a passenger plane with un-afflicted people. Legitimate, trained service animals (read as: DOGS ONLY) for blind or mobility-impaired people are a totally separate class, and should always be permitted.

  7. In a world of snowflakes, become a fire-breathing dragon.

  8. snailmailtrucker says:

    Good thing Goats are banned….
    MoHamHead would be skrewing them is they were allowed on them !

  9. My pot belly pig self identifies as a miniature pony (and as King of Scotland and as President for Life of Kampala).

  10. Ryan J Burke says:

    No tusks?! You mean I can’t fly with my emotional support elephant anymore?

  11. So, my emotional support honey badger is out? No fair!!

  12. Joe Pane says:

    We’re about to book Costa Rica flights. American Airlines is off the list

  13. This is getting out of hand. I wonder what nutjob started this nonsense. Airlines MUST offer animal free flights or provide special sections on the plane for those accompanied by “service” animal.

  14. randja57 says:


  15. Those people should ride on buses bought from third world countries, open windows, junk stacked on top. This lunacy makes no sense. I can see a well trained dog helping a blind person but all these thumb sucking coloring book loving safe space freaks are forcing the majority to live in their nutty world. A horse? liberalism is manufacturing lunatics.

    I am not talking about a military vet that fought then fought again to bring his service animal home both having PTSD both sharing healing, those people we love.

  16. My friend thinks he is an alligator, can he come along too? I mean, you know, he ‘associates’ with an alligator.

  17. I have a pet Lemur that transitions frequently to a transvestite opossum that’s seeking a sex-change operation to a gender-neutral squirrel. Can I get that onboard the plane for emotional well-being?

  18. How does a miniature pony sit under the seat or in your lap?

  19. Dave Nevers says:

    Excluding goats is NOT a good idea. Look what happened to the Chicago Cubs when they refused to let a goat into Wrigley Field in 1945. Goat curses are powerful mojo.

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