On December 10, 2020, the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) published in the Federal Register a final rule to amend the Department’s Air Carrier Access Act regulation on the transport of service animals by air.
In that final rule, the Department allows airlines to require passengers traveling with service animals to provide carriers with two forms of documentation developed by the DOT – a U.S. Department of Transportation Service Animal Air Transportation Form and a U.S. Department of Transportation Service Animal Relief Attestation Form.
Airlines will now be able to require passengers to confirm the service dog's health, behavior, and proper training utilizing these forms before their flights. Veterinarians can help with a service animal consultation to assist passengers by ensuring their service dog meets all requirements.
The Transportation Department issued a final rule that is meant to settle years of disputes over animals on airplanes. The department has decided that only trained service dogs can fly for free as service animals, and that emotional support animals may be boarded with pet fees in a carrier or in the cargo hold or may be even be banned from coming on-board with the passenger based on the airline's discretion.
Most of the major airlines in the United States have recently updated their service animal transportation policies following the DOT rule change. Most of these updates take effect January 11, 2021. We have been covering these updates as they are released. Learn more about the new policies here:
Many other airlines will continue to update their policies to reflect the new rule, and it will continue to have a major impact on traveling by plane with pets, service animals, and emotional support animals going forward. Leave us a comment and let us know your thoughts about the new rule change below.