If you fly on a regular basis, you’re probably used to the little inconveniences and annoyances that come along with sharing the air with your fellow man.
But it’s not always the human travelers that misbehave and cause problems for flight attendants and fellow passengers.
If you’re tired of sitting next to turkeys, pigs, and asses – at least of the animal variety — then there may be some good news on the horizon.
You know what I’m talking about – “emotional support animals.”
Bless Their Hearts
Life is so stressful and so difficult for some people, especially when they have to leave their safe spaces, that they can only function if they have their furry or feathered best friend with them.
Gone are the days of listening to soothing music through headphones or bringing a squishy stress ball in your carry-on. That’s not enough for this generation of entitled and emotionally fragile humans.
Now they demand they have another kind of “safety blanket” with them at all times – rules, regulations, and common courtesy be damned.
Of course, these emotionally fragile humans, offended by everything and everyone, have no problem airing their grievances and demands to anyone they do business with.
In this case, using their typical cries of “discrimination,” “inclusion,” and “tolerance” to get their own way with major airlines.
Until a few years ago, airlines would allow a dog or cat on board, often crated, or a trained service dog for a passenger with a true medical need for it.
But then came the birds and farm animals – and everything in between – causing nothing but trouble for everyone on board, except for the animals’ owners, who didn’t care about anyone else’s needs but their own fabricated ones.
Sure, there were some regulations in place: Airlines could require documentation that animals were vaccinated or trained, particularly for lengthy flights.
They could require that the animal be on a leash or harness, and that passengers would need a letter from a mental health professional stating their need for emotional support from the animal kingdom on the flight.
But here’s the problem: We all know there are plenty of mental health “professionals” who are as much off their rocker as their patients and would have no problem signing off on anything an emotionally fragile Snowflake might want.
For example, the New York Times reported that a 26-year-old man who suffered from anxiety was able to get a letter for his emotional support animal from a therapist in California after a video chat consultation.
Yep, that easy.
Of his emotional support duck, “Primadonna,” he said that whenever he felt like he didn’t matter in the world, Primadonna would waddle over and ensure him he was, in fact, loved.
Bless his heart.
And, airlines could not limit the number of animals on any given flight, meaning you could end up with a real zoo on board depending how many fragile fliers purchased a ticket.
There were the dogs, of course – not trained service animals, but pets who did not like the idea of being stuck on a flight with strangers. American, Delta, and Southwest all reported incidents of passengers being bitten by another traveler’s emotional support dog.
Then there was a woman who tried to bring her emotional support peacock onto a United Airlines flight out of Newark Airport. After being told three times that it would not be allowed on board due to size and weight restrictions, guess what she did?
Yep, she showed up at the gate with him anyway. Snowflakes refuse to hear the word “no.”
Incidentally, the incident brought fame to Dexter the Peacock, who, at the time of his untimely death, had 17,000 social media followers. This is the world we live in.
And who could forget Hobie the pig? At 80 pounds, he was somehow allowed on an American Airlines flight because his owner had met the lax guidelines for bringing him on board.
That’s when he started squealing and doing nasty things that pigs normally do outside in the aisle next to his owner’s seat.
Time’s up, Snowflakes.
Now, however, the Trump administration wants to do something about this absurd travel problem.
Airlines for America reports that the number of emotional support animals brought on planes nearly doubled from 2016 to 2017, and they’ve been skyrocketing ever since to the tune of nearly a million a year.
We’ve all had it with the whole concept of having to share the already cramped space of an airplane cabin with assorted wildlife.
It’s bad enough there are plenty of human passengers behaving badly.
And the worst part is that the people who have actual medical conditions and need trained service dogs are being harmed by the whole process.
While each airline has its own rules for emotional support animals, they are fairly similar under umbrella regulations of the Department of Transportation. They are meant to help those who actually need help in accordance with the Americans with Disabilities Act.
The key is to make amendments to the Air Carrier Access Act regulations on the air transport of animals so that only those who have a true medical need – and a real professionally-trained service dog – can board with an animal.
The proposed rules under the Trump administration’s review of the ACAA would include the requirement of actual proof that an animal is a trained service animal, and that the passenger must arrive at the airport early enough to allow for documentation to be verified and the animal’s behavior to be observed.
They would also allow airlines to limit the number of service animals per flight, to require the animal fits within their owner’s foot space on board, and would prohibit animals that show any signs of aggression or potential danger to other passengers.
In essence, the proposed amendments would limit the presence of service animals other than trained and registered service dogs on flights.
The Association of Professional Flight Attendants (APFA), praised the proposed changes, stating that they will finally address the health, safety, and customer service needs of all airline employees and passengers.
And I’m sure it will make everyone happy not to have sidestep a giant pile of pig poo in the aisle on the way to the bathroom.
The proposed regulations are still under consideration, but the Trump administration is taking a good first step in reviewing this absurd problem.
With any luck, turkeys, pigs, and snakes on planes will be a thing of the past by the end of this year.
No help yet for obnoxious and annoying human travelers, but we can always dream.
Be sure to read more on the absurd overuse of emotional support animals at Proud American Traveler! https://proudamericantraveler.com/are-emotional-therapy-pets-ruining-travel-for-everyone/