If your “service” pet is a pig or a horse or a monkey, you can now take her on a plane with you. The Dept. of Transportation has changed their rules to include those animals – although it’s still at the discretion of the airlines.
According to the new manual for airport staff:
A passenger arrives at the gate accompanied by a pot-bellied pig. She claims that the pot-bellied pig is her service animal. What should you do?
Generally, you must permit a passenger with a disability to be accompanied by a service animal.However, if you have a reasonable basis for questioning whether the animal is a service animal, you may ask for some verification.
The manual advises staff to begin by asking questions like “What tasks or functions does your animal perform for you?” or “What has its training been?” If they’re still suspicious, staff are recommended to call a Complaints Resolution Official.
The airlines may be a little leery of the new guidelines. Adult pot-bellied pigs weigh as much as an obese human passenger.
A “service” animal can be much more than just a seeing-eye dog these days. She may provide “emotional support” – which is something we could all use when flying.
Then again, if you end up having to discuss all this with a Complaints Resolution Official, you may need more support than your pet pig can provide.
And don’t try bringing along your seeing-eye spider or talk-therapy turtle. Airlines have the option of turning down “certain unusual service animals.” No snakes on a plane!