US Department of Transportation proposes new rules for animals on flights

Photo: © Bill Abbott

The United States Department of Transportation (DOT) is proposing new rules for service animals on board flights.

Under the proposal, a ‘service animal’ would clearly be defined as a “dog that is individually trained to do work or perform tasks for the benefit of a qualified individual with a disability“. Owners of such a service dog must submit DOT-made forms to the airline, to attest that the animal is healthy and indeed trained for the required tasks, even on board a long flight.

Furthermore, airlines would be allowed to recognize all other animals as pets.

Currently, passengers in the United States are able to take an animal on board a flight, if they say the pet in question is a so-called “emotional support animal”. According to various US airlines, the number of animals transported under this titling have grown significantly over the past few years. Under the new proposal, Airlines would be able to block the transport of these ‘supportive pets’.

The department has posted its planned changes for public comment.