Fly the not-so-friendly skies

One of the general issues with “emotional support animals” is that there has never been any official certification or training for them. You just tell your doctor that you need it, and they write a prescription for it, which usually amounted to nothing more than a vague note. Other folks figured out that there was no real governance, so they just started naming whatever they wanted as their ESA. There are zillion scammy sites that say they will “officially register” your ESA, which confuses the issue for people.

On the flipside, the fact that businesses are afraid of of being sued so they usually restrict their employees from even questioning things hasn’t helped matters.

  • When it is not obvious what service an animal provides, only limited inquiries are allowed. Staff may ask two questions: (1) is the dog a service animal required because of a disability, and (2) what work or task has the dog been trained to perform. Staff cannot ask about the person’s disability, require medical documentation, require a special identification card or training documentation for the dog, or ask that the dog demonstrate its ability to perform the work or task.

Statistically it’s fairly low, but then you have shit like flight attendants telling people to put dogs in the overhead compartment and for some reason people stopped trusting the airlines with their pets.

Having them in the baggage hold has always been fairly sketchy tbh. It’s cold as fuck down there and trusting the luggage handlers with your pet when you see how they treat everything is a rational reason to be concerned.

Especially when you pay extra for the privilege.

Putting my dogs in the hold of a plane is nightmare fuel. It’s like failing one of those psychology experiments from the ‘60s trying to get you to do bad things.

I hope i would have the presence of mind (and ability of circumstance) to tell them no if I were forced to choose between bringing my pets at all and shoving them in the hold. It also makes me feel obligated to buy them seats for them were it every necessary to fly with them, even if they were in carriers.

Very few die, but they can be traumatized. They put them in a cargo hold and stuff can happen there.

So here’s our situation. When the GF’s daughter goes back to college next fall she has to fly into Newfoundland. It’s highly impractical to drive – it would take about 50 hours to drive there.

Unfortunately this kid has a dog – I still consider ita mistake and it has profoundly changed her college experience, living by herself in an apartment instead of on campus in a dorm with others, but that bridge has been crossed and burned.

She got a psychiatrist to write her a letter saying she needed the dog for emotional support. So she has been flying with this dog. I don’t know what this is going to do to that plan. All I know is I do not want this dog in my care full-time. It’s a sweet little thing, but it runs away at every chance it gets and it still sometimes poops in the house.

So she either continues to finagle the dog as an emotional support animal or it flies in the cargo hold or she leaves it with us, which is going to make one of us unhappy.

When our (previous) cats moved with us from Canada, they rode in the cabin, under the seats in front of us, sedated. I wonder if that’s still doable. Obvs doesn’t work with a dog.

The dog I’m referring to is small and can ride in the girl’s lap. She does give it a sedative. It’s reasonably well behaved, but I sympathize with any on the plane being annoyed by animals. Flights can be stressful enough.

As far as I know, animals that can fit in a carriers beneath your seat can fly in the cabin regardless of support animal status.

The issue is generally fees. A companion pet fare ($100+) versus a service animal fare ($0).

A lot of people treat their pets like family. Imagine if only a few grandmas died every year due to the fact we just treated her like cargo. I just think they could give people a legit way to protect the animals flying without lying about it.

If you don’t put the pets in cargo, where do you put them?

Here were the numbers for 2017:

The Transportation Department counted 506,994 animals transported last year, including 24 that died, 15 that were injured and one that was lost.

Those were for animals travelling in cargo. No numbers on pets that died while travelling in the passenger area.

You can’t put all pets in the passenger areas. Sometimes it’s the carrier. Sometimes it’s the pet itself, like size. That rare bunny they sent… didn’t have a passenger. One of them advertises sending pets, I think, and it doesn’t require a person to travel with them.

Again I never said it was statistically high, only that these are very much preventable. You don’t shove a rabbit in a amazon box and punch holes in it, throw it in the mailbox and call it good.

This is not defensible. I am not sure why it’s being implied that it is.

I don’t get it. There are variety of circumstances where it’s not appropriate or allowed for people to have pets with them: most workplaces, grocery stores, bars, restaurants, public transportation, public restrooms, movie theaters, etc. Basically any place where you shouldn’t go now because of COVID, you shouldn’t bring a pet either, because it creates a negative externality: a public cost that is borne by other people, like pollution or overfishing or communicable disease. Airplanes are the same. Don’t bring your dog into the passenger compartment on a flight. If you need to travel with it, drive or use a specialty company that ships pets. It’s one of the costs you assume–like vet bills, pet food, daily walks, picking up shit, etc–when you decide to take on the responsibility of having a pet.

Airplanes are not the same. They are transportation. People have to use them to get from one place to another. You cannot drive everywhere.

They sent a priceless rabbit on a plane. I am pretty sure they were aware of other options.

This animal can cost up to 6k a month just to maintain. I don’t think they were trying to cheap out here. It cost them over 2k to send that rabbit on that plane.

I didn’t even know such things exist. We may have to look into it.

I wouldn’t travel with my dog unless I was driving. She’s big and trembles in fear just going to get groomed. Putting her in cargo might kill her with a heart attack.

Sounds like a self-limiting problem!

The thing is, I generally agree with this, with the exception of genuine service animals. I have no objection to a blind person taking their seeing-eye dog on their flight, assuming the seating accommodations work for it. The problem is that once you make that necessary exception, people who simply want to travel with their pets begin to stretch the boundaries of the exception.

That’s because you can’t really ask. It’s against ADA to inquire, and once you allow people to make judgments, they’ll just start discriminating, and we’ll wind up with a bunch of news stories about how bad that is. They went with the everyone and anyone, got bit.

There’s clearly demand for a safe, affordable ways to get pets from point A to point B via plane. They should be able to figure this out. If someone is going to spend 2k on a rabbit, you know some pet owners will spend hundreds for theirs.

They’re expecting pet owners to spend 99 billion dollars on pets (not pet care) this year… that’s just the US. It’s a huge industry.

Really? This doesn’t seem right.

I mean, when my girlfriend travels, she needs to present documentation to the TSA personnel why she needs to be carrying syringes on the plane.

Yeah, i just looked it up, and the airline is allowed to require documentation of why you need a service animal.

How do airlines determine if a service animal is really a service animal and not just a pet?
Airline personnel may ask questions and request documentation in certain circumstances. The questions that may be asked, and the level of documentation that may be required, will vary depending on the individual’s disability and the type of service animal.

An airline is required to permit the service animal to accompany the individual with a disability on the plane if an individual has an obvious disability and:

The service animal is wearing a harness, tags, vests, or backpack; or
The person provides identification cards or other written documentation; or
The person provides credible verbal assurances that the animal is a service animal.
If airline personnel are not certain of the animal’s status, even after being told that an animal is a service animal, additional questions may be asked, including:

What tasks or functions does your animal perform for you?
What has the animal been trained to do for you?
Would you describe how the animal performs this task or function for you?
For emotional support or psychiatric service animals (even if they are dogs), airlines may require very specific supporting documentation 48 hours in advance of a flight.

My apologies. I should have clarified.

They can ask about the animal. They cannot ask about your actual disablity.