WASHINGTON, January 22, 2020 – Airlines for America (A4A), applauds the Department of Transportation’s (DOT) proposed rule regarding emotional support animals (ESAs). Airlines are committed to promoting accessibility for passengers with disabilities and ensuring their safe and successful travel. The DOT’s decision to limit its definition of “service animal” to include only dogs trained to do work or perform tasks for the benefit of an individual with a disability is a positive step in protecting the legitimate right of passengers to travel with a service animal.
“Airlines want all passengers and crew to have a safe and comfortable flying experience, and we are confident the proposed rule will go a long way in ensuring a safer and healthier experience for everyone,” said A4A President and CEO Nicholas E. Calio. “We commend Sec. Chao for her leadership providing the clarity travelers, employees and airlines need by ensuring only dogs trained to perform specific tasks for individuals with disabilities are allowed onboard aircraft.”
The safety and well-being of every traveler is the highest priority for U.S. airlines. The increased availability of fraudulent ESA credentials has enabled people who are not truly in need of animal assistance to abuse the rules and evade airline policies regarding animals in the cabin. This has led to an increase in incidents by untrained animals threatening the health and safety of passengers, crew and passengers with disabilities traveling with legitimate service animals.
The DOT’s rule will strengthen our ability to provide passengers with disabilities the accommodations they need with the highest level of safety and service. We thank the DOT for the important work undertaken on this critical issue.
Annually, commercial aviation helps drive $1.7 trillion in U.S. economic activity and more than 10 million U.S. jobs. U.S. airlines fly 2.4 million passengers and more than 58,000 tons of cargo each day. Airlines for America (A4A) advocates on behalf of the American airline industry as a model of safety, customer service and environmental responsibility and as the indispensable network that drives our nation’s economy and global competitiveness.
A4A works collaboratively with the airlines, labor, Congress, the Administration and other groups to improve aviation for the traveling and shipping public.