On U.S. Planes, the Dogs are Winning–according to Scott McCartney WSJ who paints a picture of planes as zoos, overcrowded with biting, barking, and peeing pets.
While the increase in emotional support animals on planes is significant (there has been a 56% increase in a one-year period) some of McCartney’s conclusions are exaggerated. It’s true Delta flies 700 emotional support animals and service dogs a day, but the airline totals 4,800 flights a day–that makes just one ESA or service dog for every seven flights. If every plane flies 300 people, the likelihood that you will be sitting next to one of these dogs is about one in 2000.
And even if there were an extraordinary number of pets flying, is this necessarily a negative? Wouldn’t this trend suggest more people with disabilities are benefiting from the support of cats and dogs, and want to take them along when they travel? After all, 8.9 million (or 18.5%) of adults in the U.S. suffer from a mental illness or substance use disorder, and of those “44% received substance use treatment or mental health treatment in the past year,” according to the American Psychological Association.
Dogs and humans have a symbiotic relationship going back almost 20,000 years. And in modern times, different countries have different attitudes toward dogs. In France, dogs are generally allowed in restaurants and not allowed in public parks. In England dogs are often welcome in pubs and restaurants.
But many people don’t want dogs on planes. They have allergies, or they have fears. And passenger safety is incredibly important.
A recent incident has brought the question of dogs on planes to the forefront: after a Pitbull badly scratched an attendant on a Delta flight, the airline banned the breed of dog from all future flights. However, Delta deciding a particular breed of dog “poses a threat” while other breeds do not is a determination many are opposed to. The Air Carrier Access Act does not apply to animals that “Pose a direct threat to the health or safety of others.”
The second precaution Delta has taken seems fairer. Now, in addition to the immunization records and the note from a therapist previously required to bring an ESA on board, you will also be required to sign a document stating that your pet will behave on the plane.
Inspired by these recent changes to Delta and other airline’s policies, the Department of Transportation has begun looking into imposing new regulations. The DOT is currently reviewing the 4,467 comments they’ve gotten. Continue reading to see comments on these policies:
There’s nothing worse than infants and small children on airplanes. The screams are horrific. And the smells from the unattended diapers make me want to pass out.
That’s the real story.
If someone wants to bring an “emotional support” animal on a plane, give the animal a seat and put the owner in the cargo hold.
Given the choice between sitting next to a dog or an obese, sweaty, cellphone yapping business traveler, I’ll take the former.
The market could solve this. An airline could say, “We’re sorry, but the costs and risks are too great and we’re not allowing uncaged animals on any of our flights.” I bet they could charge more money than their competitors..
I have family members and neighbors who are disabled veterans. Some do rely on emotional support animals. I think that aspect of the situation has been the nose of the camel that is now flying in coach. No airline wants that bad story about the vet who served three tours in Iraq and couldn’t bring Bowser on the flight.
My eyes water and itch, breathing becomes a wheeze. How about those “apples”, cat lovers?
I had to fly to Paris from San Francisco with the mewling of two cats shoved under the seat across the aisle from me. The owner had no problem with it, but I didn’t sleep all night. We probably paid the same amount for the ticket, but I lost out on sleep so mine was a lot more expensive. I think the airlines should charge extra ( another fare) for “emotional support” animals or only allow verified service animals to fly in the cabin. The comfort of the many is being sacrificed for the selfishness of the few.
This policy is being constantly abused by cheaters…an old friend of mine used to bring her son’s dog with her to visit him in Seattle by claiming he was HER emotional support animal. A friendly psychotherapist helped her in this deception with a letter.
Maybe there should be a section on the plane for animals like there used to be for smokers. Let all those with animals sit together. And the pet owner should also buy a seat for the pet although I wouldnt want to sit in a seat previously occupied by a pet. Having a pet in the space behind a seat in the aisle is a safety hazard ( we have to stowe luggage for that purpose ..right?)
Bringing pets has become an issue in traveling as a whole. First it was pets in restaurants, then hotels, and now airplanes. I applaud and frequent hotels and restaurants that do not allow pets (except legit service dogs). Since I cannot know ahead of booking, I would prefer an airline that didnt allow pets.
I guess will have to have a more serious incident for the airlines to wake up.
My dog,Riley is a 19 lb golden doodle. An allergy dog.has had 2 weeks of professional training and I carry his records and letters from my VA doctors,he is truly an EMOTIONAL SUPPORT ANIMAL,who is needed intensely.
unfortunately the rise in prices to stick your small dog in a carrier under the seat (in an increasingly small area which is now reduced by video equipment) is part of the cause for more emotional support animals. At $130 per flight on most airline ( sometimes more costly than the passengers ticket) this is highway robbery and why more people prefer to go this route and not put their usually well mannered dog under the seat and have their own personal leg room constricted. The airlines have caused this problem with increasing unfair pricing which went from $ 50 to $ 130 per flight in recent years.
The only option we have is to always book business class seats for our mich to fla trips.
Simple solution..if a baby needs a seat so should a pet. Dogs should be muzzled for the whole flight.
I understand both parties very well. I’d never had or wanted a dog. My mom got a Maltese as an emotional service dog and I thought it was all a ploy to be able to take her places but I couldn’t deny that the dog had a very soothing effect on her. Now my mother has dementia which the doctor says has been happening for the last decade which is also the amount of time we’ve had the dog. I now more than ever understand why my moms needed the dog and how it helps her. I’d go as far as saying the dog has saved my moms life in many different ways and brings her solace no medicine or person can. My mom refuses to go anywhere without the dog and anyone can tell the difference between her with the dog and her without it. I’ve come to dread thinking what will happen when the dog is not around. I can understand people being bothered by dogs in a public place but I think if the person has the dog well trained and very clean it shouldn’t be a problem. I’ve seen people in planes that are a whole lot dirtier than my moms dog. I think it’s hard to understand until you experience a need for it.