Changes are taking place with the JetBlue emotional support animal policy effective July 1. The new restrictions will only allow for emotional support dogs, cats and miniature horses––yes, you can bring a horse but no more insects, ferrets or peacocks.

The changes come amidst several other airlines’ policy revisions as well as the Department of Transportation’s consideration of tightening the belt on the emotional support animal policy that allows such animals to fly free. Recent years have seen an abuse of the policy that has born witness to emotional hedgehogs, pigs and turkeys––to name a few––accompany nervous flyers in the cabin.

Jet Blue

Photo: Courtesy of Jet Blue

Also as of July 1st, passengers flying with emotional support animals must notify the airline 48 hours in advance, provide a mental health form from a doctor requiring the necessity of the animal, a note from a veterinarian documenting the health of the support animal (including vaccinations) and also sign a waiver that they accept responsibility for any injuries or property damage.

The changes taking place with JetBlue mirror other airlines, such as Delta and American Airlines, who are restricting the types of animals to ensure a pleasant flying experience for everyone. Currently, there are no changes being made to non-psychiatric service animals such as guide dogs.

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Despite the aide emotional support animals bring their owners, it appears the changes are largely in part to the outpouring of complaints brought to airlines by other passengers. The Department of Transportation is in the process of collecting comments and has already rounded up 950 so far.

Concerns such as allergies to animals, biting and animal urination and defecation have all been brought up and there’s no shortage of photos documenting the creative emotional support animals who’ve made their way on board a flight on Instagram.

If you have plans to fly JetBlue this summer and to bring along an emotional support animal, make sure you follow the updated guidelines. Happy flying!

––Karly Wood

 

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