Airlines are apparently getting tougher over a substantial increase in demands from passengers armed with supporting letters from medical professionals to allow their registered 'emotional support animal' to sit in a specially allocated seat next to the nervous passenger/owner as a fare paying passenger.
In the USA, United Airlines claim that requests have risen by 75 percent to 76,000 in the last twelve months. The situation is now so bizarre, that an 'emotional support' Peacock (yes a Peacock) was effectively denied boarding (as reported by the BBC Turning away a peacock at Newark airport ). Elsewhere, again in the USA, In 2014, a woman was escorted off a US Airways flight when 'Hobie' her pet pig, defecated, squealed and that was before the plane had even taken off!
The hapless United Airlines spokeswoman tasked with this story chose her words very carefully as she tip-toed through what is termed a catalogue of 'incidents'
This was because of a "significant increase in on-board incidents involving these animals", she added. Of course it would be cabin crew that would have to clear up any residual in-flight mess and possibly summoning a deep cleaning crew on arrival.
In extreme cases, causing the whole aircraft to be termed 'gone technical' and possibly taken out of service for severe err incidents....
United said that last year that had been an increase of more than 30,000 such incidents ....
From March the rules are changing, before United flights begin to resemble a form of 21st Centuary Aerial Ark. The airline is introducing much tougher 'zoo-class' rules 'on animals carried by passengers to provide reassurance or as part of therapy' - This however is not be applied to service dogs, including guide dogs for the blind.
The normal process would be for the cherished animal to be placed in a special animal airfreight crate complete with food and water supply, carried in a designated pressurised hold compartment with the heating turned on.
Source BBC News, Reuters, CNS,
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