Mini horses, cats and dogs: United Airlines restricting its emotional support animal policy

By Amanda Cochran - Social Media Producer
KPRC 2

HOUSTON - United Airlines is changing up its service and emotional support animal policy to include only dogs, cats and miniature horses.

Airline officials for the Chicago-based company said in a news release that the move is to ensure “the well-being of our employees and customers while accommodating customers with disabilities.”

The changes go into effect Monday.

Here is the airline's full statement on the matter:

“To further ensure the well-being of our employees and customers while accommodating customers with disabilities, we are adjusting our existing policy regarding emotional support animals, service animals and in-cabin pets.

“Starting January 7, we will implement the following policy changes:

“We are limiting emotional support animals to flights under 8 hours. We have seen increases in onboard incidents on longer flights involving these animals, many of which are unaccustomed to spending an extended amount of time in the cabin of an aircraft. 

“We will no longer accept kittens or puppies under four months of age as emotional support animals, in-cabin pets or service animals on any flight, regardless of length. Animals under the age of four months typically have not received the necessary vaccinations that help ensure the safety of our employees and customers.

“We are limiting acceptance of emotional support animals to dogs and cats. Additionally, we are limiting acceptance of service animals to dogs, cats and miniature horses. 

"We will honor reservations made prior to January 3 under the previous policy with the approved documentation, if required. We will continue to support customers with disabilities, including those traveling with service or emotional support animals, through our 24/7 Accessibility Desk, which is in place to provide service and care for our customers.” 

The move comes following Delta Air Lines' announcement that it will no longer accept puppies and kittens as emotional support animals. Delta is based in Atlanta.

What do you think about the changes – and do they go far enough? Let us know what you think in the comments.

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