JetBlue Becomes Latest Airline To Crack Down On Emotional Support Animals

Filed Under: JetBlue

Earlier this year both Delta and United updated their policies when it comes to emotional support animals, and then within the past several weeks we’ve seen Alaska and American update their policies. Airlines have seen a spike in the number of passengers traveling with emotional support animals, and they’re starting to crack down on this.

Now another airline is joining the club and adding restrictions.

JetBlue has just announced that they’re making changes to their emotional support animal policy. This policy applies to any tickets flown as of July 1, 2018, regardless of when they were issued.

With JetBlue’s new policy, they’re accepting only dogs, cats, and miniature horses as emotional support animals, and are limiting people to one ESA per passenger. Passengers must notify the airline of their intent to travel with an ESA, and they must download, complete, and submit three documents online at least 48 hours in advance.

These documents include the following:

  1. Medical/Mental Health Professional Form – This document must be completed by the professional currently providing the Customer’s mental health care and who prescribes the emotional support or psychiatric service animal.
  2. Veterinary Health Form – This document must be completed by a veterinarian detailing and attesting to the animal’s vaccination records and fitness to fly.
  3. Confirmation of Animal Behavior Form – This document is a signed customer confirmation affirming the emotional support or psychiatric service animal is trained to behave appropriately in public and that the owner accepts all liability for any injuries or damage to property.

Passengers traveling with ESAs must also bring this documentation with them to the airport, and JetBlue says that “the behavior of the animal will be assessed at the airport to ensure all safety requirements are met before approving the animal for travel.”

As is the case with the changes we’ve seen from other airlines, these new documentation requirements won’t prevent anyone who is currently traveling with a dog, cat, or miniature horse as an emotional support animal from continuing to do so in the future. They’re simply trying to make you jump through some additional hoops, in hopes of fewer people having the follow-through to complete the paperwork in time.

Now that five of the biggest US airlines have updated their policies, it will be interesting to see if there’s a significant decrease in the number of people traveling with ESAs. I’m skeptical, but time will tell.

Bottom line

JetBlue is just matching their competitors here. The biggest implication here is that they’re banning some types of animals as ESAs. For the type of animals that are allowed, they’re adding one layover of paperwork, which isn’t a huge barrier. Personally I can’t imagine having to fill out an extra form will greatly change the number of people traveling with animals. I guess we’ll see the impact over time.

What do you make of JetBlue updating their policy on emotional support animals? Do you think this will greatly decrease the number of people traveling with ESAs?

(Tip of the hat to The Points Guy)

  1. If I were the CEO of the airlines listed above, would have simply dictated only one order…..

    Buy insurance for 10 million $ to indemnify my airline from your ESA null manure crap….

    BTW, insurance has to be purchased from my wife’s company ONLY at a cost of 1000 $/million

    Let’s see how many morons still need their ESA piece of bull crap………………..

    You welcome Delta/American/SouthWest/Alaskan/United/yada yada….I will gladly accept your commission……………………….

  2. People that take liberties with rules in one area of life take the same liberties in other areas as well. It’s an attitude. IRS should audit everyone that brought ESA within the last two years. They might find a lot of tax cheats or pot smokers etc etc.

  3. Don’t agree that they are just matching their competitors here. The vet certification is a pretty big deal….notice that it requires adding the specific flight number. That means the customer is going to have to get a new form for each flight. Most vets won’t do this over the phone and most will also charge for each visit/form. B6’s competitors are not requiring this.

    Also, the idea that their front line employees will now be policing an animal’s fitness to fly is pretty comical. Too bad they can’t do this with unruly children. 🙂

  4. Miniature Horses are actually very common service animals, since their life expectancy is up to 20-25 years meaning the bonding a person has with their service lasts years longer than a dog or many other service animals.
    I used to work for JetBlue and this has always been one option for service animals…this was actually the explanation we received in training as to why they were accepted as service animals.

    Btw great job jetBlue! This is a positive step for all travelers on jetBlue!

  5. Whatever happened to Valium and hard liquor as a remedy for airline induced anxiety? No need to turn a perfectly good airplane into a petting zoo.

  6. I had a flight FLL-LGA delayed an hour because a person brought a dog on with no paperwork filed, and the purser caught it at the door. She claimed it was a support animal but didnt have the proper paperwork, and resisted paying the necessary fee to bring it on as a normal dog. I’m glad airlines are getting stricter with this as I think it is absolutely out of hand the animals they are bringing on flights for “support”. And I hope they do a better job of both enforcing before a passenger gets to the plane (ie at check in) and also making the requirements for animals, support or not, clearer while booking. An hour delay over something so dumb is outrageous.

  7. Good, about time the airlines do something! There are a lot of fake service animals out there. Plus it’s giving those that need one a black eye. The real service animals aren’t the problem.

  8. SO– those folks who have severe, life-threatening reactions to fur-bearng animals (or other) should obtain a letter from their doctor stating same– that being placed in a long, sealed, metal tube with wings and engines along with an animal that causes an allergic reaction could endanger that person’s life.
    Then we will see who ‘trumps’– the nervous person who needs “Fluffy” for “emotional support”, or the person who could die from asphyxiation from asthma caused by “Fluffy”.

  9. If you need an emotional support animal – catch a bus
    Wouldn’t happen here in Australia

  10. Bizarre, I don’t understand the weird snow flakery around allowing animals onto flights in the US. Unless there is an absolute medical need such as blindness etc why are they allowing this at all? It must be a complete pain for other passengers, crammed as they are into the small space allocated.

  11. As a frequent flyer on JetBlue BOS-PBI this has been long overdue. I have been on a flight with a pig multiple times, and one time it took a shit on the plane. Am thrilled I will no longer be seeing this animal. As for all the dogs, I know people
    who got fake emotional support credentials on line to avoid paying for their dog. This has been long overdue

  12. Where do these emotional support animals sit? On their owner’s laps? A miniature horse on a lap sitting next to me? I don’t think so. When I took my two little Yorkies flying with me on one or two occasions, I paid a fee for them, had to make sure the quota for on board animals had not already been met, and I had to place the dogs in a carrier that fit under the seat in front of me. I’m tired of this abuse by people trying to work the system to save money. I’d keep making the rules even stricter. Miniature horses? Really? It is laughable.

  13. What about the pax who brought along 3 Emot Support dogs ? Delayed flight by almost 2 hrs, trying to find willing other pax who would allow other 2 dogs under seat for 5+ hr transcon. Happened on JB early last year. How many is too many?

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