American Airlines is the latest airline to ban emotional support animals on its flights to align with regulations recently issued by the United States Department of Transportation (DOT).

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From February 1, only trained assistance dogs will be able to fly in the cabin, the Fort Worth, Texas-based carrier said in a note on its website. Passengers will also be required to submit the DOT Service Animal Air Transportation Form prior to their trip to confirm that their animal is a legitimate service dog.

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AAL AMERICAN AIRLINES GROUP, INC. 24.22 -0.03 -0.12%
ALK AIR ALASKA GROUP 66.30 +0.74 + 1.13%

American’s advisory comes just a week after Alaska Airlines issued the same warning to its customers in an effort to adhere to The revised DOT rules concerning the transport of service animals. In December, the government agency formally ruled that only dogs can fly as service animals, and companions passengers use for emotional support do not count.

When the DOT rule goes into effect Jan. 11, American said it will no longer allow “new animal travel” that does not meet the DOT definition.

However, if a passenger is traveling with an animal that is not considered a trained service animal, it may be carried as a pet.

EMOTIONAL SUPPORT ANIMALS WILL NO LONGER BE CONSIDERED AS SERVICE ANIMALS ON FLIGHTS, DECIDES DOT

Travelers check-in at the American Airlines terminal at Los Angeles International Airport in Los Angeles on May 28, 2020 (AP Photo / Marcio Jose Sanchez, File)

The government’s new rule aims to ease years of tension between airlines and passengers who board their pets for free by saying they need them for emotional help. By long-standing departmental policy, all passengers needed was a note from a medical professional.

ALASKA AIRLINES NO LONGER ALLOWS EMOTIONAL SUPPORT ANIMALS ON FLIGHTS

The agency said it was pressured to revise its rules in part because passengers carrying unusual animals on board “have eroded public confidence in legitimate service animals.” He also cited the increasing frequency of people “fraudulently presenting their pets as service animals” and an increase in bad behavior by emotional support animals, ranging from peeing on the carpet to biting other passengers.

Jessica Tyler, vice president of Airport Excellence for America, said the airline is confident the new rule will help “better serve our customers, especially people with disabilities who travel with service animals” and protect the members of his team.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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