There's been a lot of controversy regarding animals on planes in recent years. Airlines have been forced to create and readjust policies regarding animals each time a new incident pops up. However, some order may be in sight. That's because the U.S. Department of Transportation is introducing some standardized rules regarding animals on commercial flights. That means that airlines and passengers can finally be on the same page instead of enduring the constant confusion that comes from differing policies throughout the airline industry.
What do the new standardized pet policies look like? The Department of Transportation is giving airline employees the power to ban any animal that they consider to be a threat to the safety of airline passengers and crew members. However, airlines cannot ban specific breeds. Airlines could face penalties if they are caught doing this. Delta Air Lines currently bans pit bulls in its cabins.
Airlines are also being granted permission to ask passengers reasonable questions regarding service animals. That includes questions related to things like training, behavior and vaccine records. In addition, airlines have the right to require advance notice if a passenger plans to bring along an animal for emotional support. Most airlines already have similar policies in place. It is still illegal for airlines to impose this requirement when it comes to guide dogs for blind passengers and similar service animals.
The Association of Flight Attendants recently called for new policies addressing animals on planes. Many flight attendants have felt burdened by the issues created when animals are loose inside cabins. Additionally, there have been several documented bites and instances of animals creating messes in airplane aisles in recent years.
Passengers will see changes regarding pet rules very soon as airlines have 30 days to conform to the Department of Transportation's new policies.