March 12 2019  |  Airline & Terminal News

American Airlines announces changes to service and support animal policies

By PAX International

American Airlines (AA) has announced additional changes to its policies and procedures regarding service and emotional support animals. The new changes will come into effect on April 1.

According to a March 8 press release from the airline, the goal of these changes is to protect customers who have a legitimate need as well as the team members who work to keep its customers safe.

AA first made changes to these policies in May of last year, including the introduction of restrictions on animal types and the addition of pre-clearance notification requirements.

The updates to the policy, as per AA's media release, are as follows:

1) American supports the rights of customers, from veterans to people with disabilities, with a legitimate need for a trained service or support animal. Unfortunately, untrained animals can lead to safety issues for team members, customers and working service and support animals on board aircraft.

2) American surveyed 10,400 team members and 18,000 customers about these issues and used their feedback to enact these new policies. The results of this survey, along with additional comments from the airline, were submitted to the U.S. Department of Transportation.

3) Effective for travel on or after April 1, a traditional service animal may be a dog, a cat or, in some limited circumstances, a miniature horse. Emotional support animals are limited to either a dog or cat only; a customer may only bring one emotional support animal on board aircraft.

4) American will require a Veterinary Health Form, along with immunization details, for emotional support animals. Details regarding all of these updated changes and forms, as well as the advanced notice and pre-clearance policy, are available here.

5) Animals under four months of age will no longer be permitted to travel as service or support animals. Animals under this age usually have not received the necessary vaccinations that protect team members and customers.

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