United joins American, Delta, Alaska in emotional help animal ban
CHICAGO – United Airlines joins other major US airlines to stop animals with emotional support from flying for free.
United said Friday that as of Monday, passengers will no longer be able to book pet travel. For people who book before the deadline, the free travel for companions ends on February 28th.
After that, United said, only trained service dogs can fly in the cabin without being in a porter. Owners must submit a government-approved form confirming the dog’s training, vaccines, and disposition. Therapy animals trained to visit nursing homes and other facilities do not count as service dogs, United said.
Owners may be able to carry other animals in the hold or in carriers that fit under a seat in the cabin. In either case, the owner pays a pet fee starting at $ 125 per flight.
Alaska Airlines, American Airlines, and Delta Air Lines announced similar guidelines in the past few days. The moves follow a rule of the transportation department, according to which airlines can take action against the growing number of animals with emotional support in recent years.
Government rules announced last month require airlines to accept service dogs who have been individually trained to help a person with a disability. The rules allow airlines to refuse free boarding for pets.
For many years, thousands of passengers relied on a previous arrangement to bring an animal on board for free, claiming that it provided emotional support. Airlines and flight attendants believed that some passengers were abusing the rule to avoid pet fees.