“Can my emotional support animal fly with me?” The answer to this question has recently been changed by the Department of Transportation (DOT). In their latest controversial (for some) amendment, the DOT has finally given nod to airline companies to treat emotional support animals as any other ordinary pets.
But what does this exactly mean for a person who owns an ESA?
Well, it surely is bound to have some impact on their lives. But “how deep this effect will be?” is still to be found. Having said that, here are a few ways, ESA doctors NY state, this new DOT guideline may practically affect the lives of ESA owners.
The Rules Until Now
As per the existing rules, ESAs get some special privileges while traveling with their owners. The Air Carrier Access Act currently allows the animals with an ESA certification to fly in-cabin with their owners without any extra fees.
A lot of people nowadays have an ESA to manage their mental health issues. And in many cases, they have got an ESA for the fact that they could travel with it. For many years people have enjoyed this privilege.
However now, the era of ESAs on flights has perhaps come to an end. Let’s see what the new rules say.
What Has Changed?
On Wed, December 3rd, the Department of Transportation made amendments to the Air Carrier Access Act. And well, the amendment surely is big news. With this, airline companies are no longer bound to let the ESAs travel in the cabin with their owners. In short, for airline companies now, an ESA is just like any other regular pet. Unfortunately, this means the ESA owners would have to pay hefty fees for traveling with their ESAs now, and that too not together, but the ESA would go to the cargo section. This is something that almost every ESA owner is going to have a problem with.
But hey, there is still some hope. If you didn’t notice, the DOT hasn’t completely banned ESAs from flying with their owners but has given the airline companies an open hand to decide it for themselves. With this, well, we do have some hope. It’s still possible for an airline to keep following the current protocol.
But Can You Travel With Your ESA For Now?
Well, sure. The new rule was passed on Dec 3rd. And it would take at least 30 days for it to go into effect after it is published officially in the federal register. So, as per the estimates, the rule would come into effect in Jan 2021. For the time being, you may travel with your ESA freely. But you need to follow the same rules, i.e. tell your airline company beforehand and have all the necessary documents.
What’s The Future Like For an ESA?
The decision by the Department of Transportation has surely changed the future of ESAs significantly. With people not being able to travel with their pets, it’s going to be a little less bright. Should we blame this too on the year 2020? Well, that’s up to you.
But hey, as we discussed, there is still hope. A lot now depends on how airline companies react to this. We just hope that some airlines will think progressively and try to keep things as they are. Fingers crossed!
With that being said, we must not forget the other benefits you get by living with an emotional support animal. Under the Fair Housing Act, you can live with your ESA even in a no-pet policy place, without any legal restrictions and free of charge. Also, if you are suffering from a mental condition, there’s a lot an emotional support animal can do for you. Remember, an emotional support animal is there for you no matter what. And it still can play a major role in helping you lead a better and healthier life.