STREAMING NOW: Watch Now

JetBlue tightens policy on emotional support animals

JetBlue wants proof that your miniature ponies or other emotional support animals are really for emotional support be...

Posted: Jun 6, 2018 11:23 AM
Updated: Jun 6, 2018 11:23 AM

JetBlue wants proof that your miniature ponies or other emotional support animals are really for emotional support before they are allowed on a plane.

The airline became the latest carrier to tighten its policy regarding emotional support animals traveling on planes when it laid out the new rules on Tuesday. Airlines in recent years have seen a spike in the number of animals that are traveling as emotional support pets, which are not required to be crated in the cabin and can ride along for free.

JetBlue said in a statement that the policy change for emotional support animals "follow a dramatic increase in industry incidents involving emotional support animals that haven't been adequately trained to behave in a busy airport or the confined space of an aircraft."

The airline said this "creates health and safety risks for customers, crew members and other service or support animals."

Emotional support animals help people with emotional, psychiatric or anxiety issues, including veterans with PTSD. They're different from service dogs that help people with blindness and other disabilities. JetBlue didn't change its rules for service animals.

Starting on July 1, the airline will require passengers bringing along an emotional support animal to complete three documents at least 48 hours in advance of the trip.

Related: American Airlines tightens policy on emotional support animals

The documents include verification from a mental or medical health professional that says the animal is really for emotional and psychiatric service, a veterinary health form for the animal, and a liability form that that says the animal is "trained to behave appropriately in public." Owners are responsible for injuries to others or damage to property.

The previous policy only required one document confirming the passenger's mental health requirements for an emotional support animal, according to a JetBlue spokesman.

Only cats, dogs and miniature horses are allowed on-board under the new policy. Hedgehogs, ferrets, rodents, snakes, spiders, reptiles and animals with tusks were have long been banned by JetBlue.

The change comes amid reports of animals brought on planes attacking passengers and other service animals. Delta says animal incidents on its planes increased by 84% last year. In one incident last summer, a man was hospitalized from bite wounds when another passenger's 70-pound dog attacked him during boarding, the airline said.

Similar policy changes have been announced this year by American Airline, Delta and United.

American said the number of customers traveling with service or support animals rose more than 40% in 2017. The airline also said that insects, goats and hedgehogs are no longer allowed as emotional support animals.

Taylor Garland, spokeswoman for the Association of Flight Attendants, said the policy changes are necessary.

Related: 68% of flight attendants have been sexually harassed

"People have been abusing this category of animals -- it's essentially to bring the family pet along," said Garland. "This issue has grown so much over the last few years that it starts to legitimately affect the people who really do need these animals."

Advocates for emotional support animals say allowing the pet on a plane may alleviate stress for the passenger. They have also said the new regulations are putting an unfair burden on people with legitimate emotional disabilities.

"While we appreciate the need of airlines to individually adopt policies that support good decision-making by their employees and safe travel for their passengers, the AVMA looks forward to further collaborative efforts with the airlines and the Department of Transportation to adopt consistent, evidence-based policy that supports the safe travel of these invaluable animals," the American Veterinary Medical Association said in a statement.

Last month, the Department of Transportation said that it's seeking public comment on changing its regulations regarding the transportation of service animals.

Indiana Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 35712

Reported Deaths: 2207
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Marion10037594
Lake3806202
Allen174371
Cass15927
Elkhart143529
St. Joseph132035
Hamilton118094
Hendricks118074
Johnson1120110
Madison59761
Porter55329
Clark52841
Bartholomew52238
Howard43734
LaPorte43624
Tippecanoe4214
Shelby39822
Jackson3942
Delaware38740
Hancock34928
Floyd32140
Boone31835
Vanderburgh2902
Morgan28324
Noble25121
Montgomery24417
Clinton2401
White2389
Decatur23031
Grant22123
Dubois2053
Harrison19622
Henry18412
Vigo1758
Greene17125
Dearborn17021
Monroe17012
Warrick16728
Kosciusko1661
Lawrence16524
Marshall1472
Miami1411
Putnam1377
Orange13122
Jennings1314
Scott1223
Franklin1158
Ripley1086
LaGrange1022
Daviess9516
Carroll933
Steuben872
Wayne865
Wabash802
Fayette797
Newton7810
Jasper701
Jay530
Clay522
Washington511
Rush503
Randolph503
Fulton501
Pulaski490
Jefferson471
Whitley443
DeKalb431
Starke393
Sullivan371
Owen341
Perry340
Huntington342
Brown331
Benton320
Wells320
Knox310
Blackford272
Tipton261
Crawford240
Fountain222
Switzerland210
Spencer211
Adams201
Gibson182
Parke180
Posey160
Ohio130
Warren121
Martin120
Vermillion100
Union90
Pike60
Unassigned0175
West Lafayette
Clear
83° wxIcon
Hi: 85° Lo: 67°
Feels Like: 86°
Kokomo
Clear
79° wxIcon
Hi: 85° Lo: 65°
Feels Like: 82°
Rensselaer
Scattered Clouds
81° wxIcon
Hi: 83° Lo: 63°
Feels Like: 83°
Fowler
Scattered Clouds
81° wxIcon
Hi: 87° Lo: 65°
Feels Like: 83°
Williamsport
Scattered Clouds
80° wxIcon
Hi: 85° Lo: 66°
Feels Like: 82°
Crawfordsville
Scattered Clouds
77° wxIcon
Hi: 82° Lo: 67°
Feels Like: 79°
Frankfort
Broken Clouds
82° wxIcon
Hi: 85° Lo: 66°
Feels Like: 84°
Delphi
Clear
79° wxIcon
Hi: 87° Lo: 65°
Feels Like: 81°
Monticello
Clear
79° wxIcon
Hi: 84° Lo: 64°
Feels Like: 81°
Logansport
Scattered Clouds
79° wxIcon
Hi: 82° Lo: 64°
Feels Like: 81°
Isolated storms & humid......
WLFI Radar
WLFI Temps
WLFI Planner

COVID-19 Important links and resources

As the spread of COVID-19, or as it's more commonly known as the coronavirus continues, this page will serve as your one-stop for the resources you need to stay informed and to keep you and your family safe. CLICK HERE

Closings related to the prevention of the COVID-19 can be found on our Closings page.

Community Events