JetBlue Updates Its Emotional Support Animal Policy


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2018 has been the year where airlines have finally tried to clamp down on passengers making up ailments and claiming to need the presence of an emotional support animal to get them through a flight.

Delta started the clampdown back in January citing instances of passengers attempting to travel with “comfort turkeys, gliding possums known as sugar gliders, snakes, spiders and more” and other airlines have singe followed suit.

Now it’s JetBlue’s turn.

JetBlue has announced that it is introducing new requirements for customers flying with emotional support and psychiatric service animals as part of its commitment to ensuring the safety of all customers and crew members traveling on JetBlue.

Starting on 1 July 2018 customers will be required to submit documentation, before departure, certifying that they require the presence of an emotional support animal, that their animal has been correctly vaccinated and that the animal has been trained to behave properly in public.

Image – JetBlue

Here’s what JetBlue has had to say about its new emotional support animal policy:

“JetBlue accepts only dogs, cats, and miniature horses as emotional support or psychiatric service animals and limits such permitted animals to one (1) per customer. Customers flying on or after July 1, 2018, must notify JetBlue of their intent to travel with emotional support or psychiatric service animal on their flight and must download, complete, and submit the following three documents online at least 48 hours in advance.

  1. Medical/Mental Health Professional Form – This document must be completed by the professional currently providing the Customer’s mental health care and who prescribes the emotional support or psychiatric service animal.
  2. Veterinary Health Form – This document must be completed by a veterinarian detailing and attesting to the animal’s vaccination records and fitness to fly. 
  3. Confirmation of Animal Behavior Form – This document is a signed customer confirmation affirming the emotional support or psychiatric service animal is trained to behave appropriately in public and that the owner accepts all liability for any injuries or damage to property.

The required forms are available at https://www.jetblue.com/travel/special-assistance/service-animal/ along with additional detail on traveling with service or support animals.

The required documentation for Emotional Support/Psychiatric Service Animals must also accompany the animal when traveling and is to be presented upon request to JetBlue personnel for review. The behavior of the animal will be assessed at the airport to ensure all safety requirements are met before approving the animal for travel.”

Airline Credit Cards

Thoughts

I like that JetBlue explicitly states what animals it will permit to travel in ints aircraft cabins (the three mentioned seem reasonable although I’d like there to be a specific size limit for dogs that are allowed on board).

You’ll get a good idea of what people try to get away with by looking at the airline’s service animal page where JetBlue has felt the need to expressly prohibit the following:

  • Animals improperly cleaned and/or with a foul odor
  • Animals who appear to be in poor health
  • Animals with tusks
  • Hedgehogs
  • Ferrets
  • Insects
  • Rodents
  • Snakes
  • Spiders
  • Sugar gliders
  • Reptiles
  • Non-household birds (farm poultry, waterfowl, game bird, & birds of prey)

As much as I applaud the airlines for attempting to take a stance I’m not sure this is going to make too much difference.

People will always be able to find someone who will certify that their dog/cat/miniature horse is well behaved and trained (even if it isn’t) so, until there are some truly serious penalties put in place for those attempting to game the system, nothing much will change.

What do you guys think?

Featured image – JetBlue

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