Alaska Airlines is banning emotional support animals

Originally published at: https://boingboing.net/2020/12/30/alaska-airlines-is-banning-emotional-support-animals.html

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I have a ‘sarcasm cat’ that gives me blank looks when I try to tell jokes. It keeps my horrendous ego in check, and is necessary in all business meetings. Will he be allowed?

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This is the way of the world.

  1. Try to do something decent.
  2. Others game the system.
  3. System revoked.
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I have never seen an airline which allows animals in the cabin, and I am amazed it is allowed in the US. For a start, how do you restrain the animal, to prevent it becoming a missile during a collision? It should be in a box, in the hold.

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Don’t worry, in the event of a collision, that animal-missile will be shredded by all the laptop-missiles and phone-missiles flying around the cabin.

And also, if there is a collision, everyone is pretty much dead, tiny seatbelt or not.

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Animals allowed in airplane cabins usually have to be restrained in some way, either in a carrier or on a leash. If the carrier won’t fit under a seat, it has to be in a separately purchased seat and fastened in with the belt; otherwise it gets to ride in the hold. Legit service animals are exempt from needing to be in a carrier, but they still have to be on a leash or under the control of the owner.

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In the ADA, 28 CFR § 36.302©(9), miniature horses can be legitimate service animals, on par with dogs. None of the emotional support turkeys, groundhogs, gophers, snakes, hamsters, etc. are recognized, and not all dogs or miniature horses are service animals.

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“It’s too bad that Alaska Airlines is banning support animals beginning next month.”

Uh, no, it isn’t. If an animal is stuck next to me on a fucking overpriced airline seat I’d reserve the right to eat it since airline food has gone non-existent. If you need an “emotional support animal” to fly you shouldn’t be flying.

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You know all those people who talk about the tragedy of the commons but who don’t know what they are talking about?

This actually is the tragedy of the commons. There was a common resource (airplane space). A few people needed Emotional Support Animals, and it was allowed because there were few of them, and it helped the person.

But then, selfish bastards got into it and everyone who wanted to carry their dear little fluffy pet with them decided to fake emotional support animal status for their pets. So now, instead of helping a few people with a legit problem, the average person with an emotional support animal is now faking it to bring their pets with them.

Now, as someone with an allergy to dogs - sitting in the same cabin as one will cause me to be rather miserable for a while- I’m happy to take one for the team so a person who is non-sighted can bring their service animal, or a person who has epilepsy or a person who is differently abled and needs their service animal… but to ask me to suffer so you can bring your pet? No. They can fly in the hold, and if you want to be with them, you can too.

The tragedy here is because people couldn’t police their own use of the common resource, the authority figure had to step in and do it for them, in a way that hurt legitimate users because the selfishness of other users.

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It’s why we can’t have nice things.

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The benefit of an emotional support animal to its owning human, is frequently offset by the anxiety it produces in other passengers. If someone needs that extra boost to make it at 30,000 feet, they really probably should be traveling at sea level instead.

But then, this is still 2020, no one should be flying anyway.

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What about animals flying somewhere, can they keep their emotional support people?

Pokey lost weight and his fur was odd when I was gone for six months last year. I’m his emotional support person.

He helped me get build up my.leg muscles by insisting we go out every day since February. But oddly, he’s stronger than he was in February (one of his legs weak), me helping him while he helped me.

I wouldn’t try to take him on a plane (if I actually flew), but I have joked about taking him to the library or elsewhere, him pretending to be a service animal.

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How about familiars? What’s the policy there?

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Have to agree as well. The abuse of the ESA privilege on planes has gotten way out of hand. I’m an animal lover but have witnessed far too many fakers on almost every flight now with official looking “service animal” vests (on Amazon for $20 bucks) when it’s very obvious Fido is not a properly trained service dog. It’s well past time for airlines to start cracking down.

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Either option makes for an entertaining image if we’re talking about a horse.

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