[NFB-Talk] PLEASE READ: U.S. Department of Transportation Announces Final Rule on Traveling by Air with Service Animals

Raul A. Gallegos (NFB) rgallegos at nagdu.org
Wed Dec 2 23:04:01 UTC 2020

Hello all, I am sharing this with our various NFB lists. While we will 
be able to better answer questions and assist folks with clarification 
within the next several days, you are always welcome to email me 
directly at rgallegos at nagdu.org. Also, the NAGDU board can be reached 
directly by emailing board at nagdu.org. Because this topic has the 
potential to become rather sensitive, I ask everyone to be respectful of 
other opinions if they are different than yours.

The U.S. Department of Transportation, DOT, has announced its final rule 
on Traveling by Air with Service Animals. This final rule amends the 
Department’s Air Carrier Access Act (ACAA) regulation on the transport 
of service animals by air. Quoted from the website, 
"This final rule is intended to ensure that our air transportation 
system is safe for the traveling public and accessible to individuals 
with disabilities."

The full PDF can be downloaded from this same link, but here are some of 
the changes.

The final rule:

·        Defines a service animal as a dog that is individually trained 
to do work or perform tasks for the benefit of a person with a disability;

·        No longer considers an emotional support animal to be a service 

·        Requires airlines to treat psychiatric service animals the same 
as other service animals;

·        Allows airlines to require forms developed by DOT attesting to 
a service animal’s health, behavior and training, and if taking a long 
flight attesting that the service animal can either not relieve itself, 
or can relieve itself in a sanitary manner;

·        Allows airlines to require individuals traveling with a service 
animal to provide the DOT service animal form(s) up to 48 hours in 
advance of the date of travel if the passenger’s reservation was made 
prior to that time;

·        Prohibits airlines from requiring passengers with a disability 
who are traveling with a service animal to physically check-in at the 
airport instead of using the online check in process;

·        Allows airlines to require a person with a disability seeking 
to travel with a service animal to provide the DOT service animal 
form(s) at the passenger’s departure gate on the date of travel;

·        Allows airlines to limit the number of service animals 
traveling with a single passenger with a disability to two service animals;

·        Allows airlines to require a service animal to fit within its 
handler’s foot space on the aircraft;

·        Allows airlines to require that service animals be harnessed, 
leashed, or tethered at all times in the airport and on the aircraft;

·        Continues to allow airlines to refuse transportation to service 
animals that exhibit aggressive behavior and that pose a direct threat 
to the health or safety of others; and

·        Continues to prohibit airlines from refusing to transport a 
service animal solely based on breed.

The final rule will be effective 30 days after date of publication in 
the Federal Register.

Raul A. Gallegos
President: National Association of Guide Dog Users
First Vice President: National Federation of the Blind of Texas
832.554.7285  |  RGallegos at nagdu.org

"Blindness is a characteristic, not a handicap." -- Dr. Kenneth Jernigan

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