Service Animals are generally dogs and sometimes miniature horses. Some of these amazing animals help with medical issues alerting their handler when their blood sugar is low or when they are close to having a seizure.
Emotional Support Animals calm their owners when they fly. In most cases, these animals are not trained for a specific need. They just love their owners. They provide comfort to help relieve a symptom or effect of a person’s disability.
Emotional Support Animals are generally dogs and cats. Other animals may provide support to their owners like guinea pigs or miniature horses, but exotic animals may not qualify due to risks of harm to others or potential diseases.
Most airlines will allow Emotional Support Animals, with proper documentation from a veterinarian and/or mental health counselor, and small animals such as cats and dogs can be held on the passenger’s lap during the flight.
Regarding airline policies affecting persons flying with animals that are not emotional support or service animals, most airlines charge fees and require the animal to be in a cage that can fit under the seat. If a caged animal cannot be placed under the seat, the animal flies with the luggage. You can find a lot of great information regarding traveling pets on the Department of Transportation website.
For example, American Airlines is not checking pets right now due to flight changes due to COVID19. In the past, American has been asked to transport an ant colony, a sloth, kangaroos, rabbits, lizards, pigs, crabs, wallabies and monkeys.
With Emotional Support Animals, on the other hand, they are not required to be caged, nor are people charged for flying with an Emotional Support Animal. In 2017, Delta Air Lines had a quarter of a million passengers who boarded flights with their Emotional Support Animals.
Peanut cruises along through O’Hare in Chicago
In my own flying adventures I had to ask myself, “Will our dogs fly well or not?” Our Shitzu-Bishon mix named Ollie is hyperactive and skittish around strangers. Peanut on the other hand is calm in most circumstances unless Ollie eggs him on.
Flying with your dog isn’t as ruff as you might think.
In the eagerness to attempt some semblance of normalcy, the airlines are really struggling. They are in a no win situation when it comes to new demands, yet their logic confuses me on a couple of fronts.
We are now into the second week of mandatory face coverage on airplanes. You cannot board a flight without one. This makes sense to me and probably is a couple of months late in coming.
The latest challenges come with regard to social distancing. The new standard we have all embraced is to stay six feet apart from each other to help mitigate the spread of the Coronavirus.
The airlines are currently asking passengers to not huddle in groups when boarding and keep separation between themselves and fellow passengers at the gate and on the jet bridge.
This is a tremendous help to ease people’s anxiety during the boarding process.
We are also recommending that passengers scan their own boarding passes which promotes some much needed comic relief.
It is fun to observe how differently people act to this request. Some are so conditioned they cannot help but try to hand you their pass, even when the Gate Agent motions toward the scanner.
Others stretch out as far as they can so as not get too close. They are bending over in an effort to stay six feet away from the scanner.
Once they get on the plane things change drastically. If the aircraft has less than 30 passengers they can be accommodated with proper spacing. Anymore than that, social distancing goes out the window.
On larger airplanes with six or nine seats in a row, it is easier by simply eliminating the middle seat. The distance between seats A and C are not quite six feet, but it is at least a sizable gap between you and your neighbor.
On smaller regional planes that accommodate 65 to 75 passengers, social distancing becomes impossible at more than half capacity.
With seating tighter these days, when you add people’s newest phobia to the mix, tensions will escalate. People’s paranoia is heightened, as well.
I had one woman the other day ask that the woman next to her be removed because she coughed. For all I knew it could have been an allergic reaction to her cheap perfume.
Sadly that type of reaction from people is becoming too common. People are paranoid because no one knows who is sick and who is not.
A great friend of mine just went off on Facebook about the lack of spacing on his CLT to DFW flight. His DFW to TUS wasn’t much better.
I agree with his point that social distancing is out the window once you board a flight. American Airlines’ current policy is to block the back row and the first row.
People do need to be aware of this in order to make their own decision on whether to fly or not.
Airports have been a ghost town since March, but passenger loads have been increasing the past two weeks.
Seems to me we are all getting a bit complacent about the possibility of contracting COVID19.
People are antsy and are now flying to vacation spots. Two weeks ago the majority were flying to see family members, most of whom were sick.
God calls us all to be good stewards in all that we do. That includes deciding if you want to fly or not.
If you do decide to fly, be aware that you will be closer to sitting on your neighbors’ lap than getting appropriate spacing.
Beware also that the newest trend (started by Frontier) is to charge you a $39 premium to get an open seat alongside your seat.
If you are flying internationally, please confirm first whether you will be allowed into the Country.
True story: Tonight we had a passenger flying to Toronto to get married in the morning. Because he is not a resident of Canada and he doesn’t work in Canada he is considered a “non-essential traveler.” Now he is stuck in CLT with a return flight to where he came from. Because he was getting married he no longer has a place to stay safely.
True story II: Another passenger was going to Toronto to buy a truck with plans to drive it back. This is not essential so he, too, has a return trip home in the morning.