American Airlines updates support animal policy

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Shortly after the incident, United changed its support animal policy and officially banned peacocks and numerous same emotional support animals American Airlines has decided not to allow.

"I can spot a fake emotional support animal a mile away", veteran flight attendant Heather Poole, author of "Cruising Attitude: Tales of Crashpads, Crew Drama, and Crazy Passengers at 35,000 Feet", told NBC News.

The changes, which will go into effect on June 1, include requiring a minimum of 48 hours' notice that the support animal will be flying and proper documentation to allow the airline to contact the passenger's mental health professional for confirmation.

Starting on July 1, the airline will tighten its requirements on which animals can come into the cabin.

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The new rules are supposed to protect passengers who really do need to travel with service and support animals and are also geared towards preventing disruption in the cabin being caused by animals that are not properly trained, The Chicago Tribune reported.

From 2016 to 2017, the airline said it saw a 40 percent rise in service or support animals on its aircraft - similar to increases at other airlines like Delta and United, which made similar changes this year.

Unlike household pets, which are subject to a $125 fee each way on American, support animals fly for free. "Unfortunately, untrained animals can lead to safety issues for our team, our customers and working dogs onboard our aircraft".

WestJet says it accepts dogs, cats, miniature horses, pigs and monkeys emotional support animals on its flights, subject to import and export conditions on global flights.

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Air Canada says it only accepts dogs as emotional support or psychiatric service animals.

Ferrets, amphibians, spiders, rodents, and snakes and other reptiles also are banned from the cabin "due to safety and/or public health risk", according to the policy.

American Airlines joins its competitors in clamping down on passengers travelling with emotional support animals. None of the restrictions affect American's service animal policy, which specifically applies to animals that are trained to assist people with disabilities.

"We support the rights of customers, from veterans to people with disabilities, with legitimate needs for a trained service or support animal". If an animal seems particularly violent or aggressive, it will also be prohibited from boarding a plane with its owner.

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