Le Lézard
Classified in: Tourism and vacations, Transportation
Subjects: PET, AVO, ANW

US DOT Issues Final Rule on Traveling by Air with Service Animals - Disability Advocacy Group Responds

CHICAGO, Dec. 3, 2020 /PRNewswire/ -- Open Doors Organization (ODO) commends the Department of Transportation (DOT) for their final rule regarding service animals traveling by air. "Today is a big win for the disability community and the aviation industry alike," said ODO Executive Director, Eric Lipp. "At ODO we are grateful for the opportunity to have worked with our partners throughout this negotiated rulemaking, bringing the community and industry together on a united front to make air travel a safer, more consistent experience for everyone. We're optimistic about what the future of air travel looks like."

By aligning the definition of a service animal with that of the Department of Justice under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), the DOT has ensured that untrained animals, classified as emotional support animals, are no longer traveling uncrated in aircraft cabins, making air travel safer for everyone and eliminating the stigma for legitimate service animals.

While a variety of additional notifications and documentation options for emotional support animals have been allowed in the past few years, these requirements have had no effect on the growth of emotional support animals traveling on airplanes. In fact, these requirements have spawned a cottage industry where medical professionals are selling forms to allow these untrained animals to fly as emotional support animals. By defining a service animal as a dog that is trained to perform a task or function to assist a person with a disability, and including psychiatric service animals, the air travel experience is safer for everyone and legitimate service animals and their handlers will be treated with the respect they deserve.

ODO will work with our airline partners and the industry to implement the new law and to develop an infrastructure that will make the use of forms as seamless and simple as possible for all parties including air travelers with legitimate service animals.

The Open Doors Organization is a non-profit organization founded for the purpose of teaching businesses how to succeed in the disability market and make their goods and services accessible to people with disabilities.

Katy O'Reilly
Open Doors Organization

SOURCE Open Doors Organization

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