Tag Archives: emotional support animals

Emotional support and flight anxiety

Lots of people are scared of flying – and some overcome this by travelling with an emotional support animal…. BUT … not everyone is in favour of this including the flight attendant who recently had to have 5 stitches after having been bitten by an emotional support animal… here is the full story as reported online –

A flight attendant had to get five stitches after being bitten by an emotional support dog during an American Airlines flight, operated by its subsidiary Envoy Air, this week.

The incident took place on an E-175 aircraft that was traveling from Dallas, Texas, to Greensboro, North Carolina, American Airlines tells PEOPLE.

The customer with the emotional support animal “became ill during flight, and the flight attendant was reaching into the seatback pocket to retrieve the air sickness bag for them,” the airline says.

“The dog apparently felt threatened and bit the flight attendant on their left hand.”

The flight attendant was examined by medical personnel when the plane landed at the Piedmont Triad International Airport in North Carolina, “but did not require any treatment – he was cleared to return to [the Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport].”

“Upon return to DFW, the flight attendant subsequently received five stitches,” the airline says.

The Association of Flight Attendants said in a statement Tuesday that the incident “is completely unacceptable and inexcusable,” calling for stricter “standards” when it comes to emotional support animals on flights.

 “For years, AFA has supported the role trained animals can provide to passengers in the cabin, but we have also called for action in regards to setting standards for emotional support animals,” the union’s statement continued.

“We need the Department of Transportation to take action now, so events like the one that happened yesterday do not continue to occur on our planes.”

Well this incident was probably unusual.  I have travelled on flights with pets before – but they were small dogs or cats in carriers placed under the seat.  If the animal is bigger then you would have to have them fly cargo in a proper carrier.  So if it is an emotional support animal that is too big for a carrier under the seat then they can sit on your lap or you might have to purchase another seat for your dog.  I say “dog” because most emotional support animals we see on flights are dogs…. But what about other animals..

American Airlines says only cats and dogs are allowed as emotional support animals in the cabin.  But strangely enough they also say miniature horses are allowed!

The problem is that flying can be very nerve-wracking and if you do have anxiety issues and have an emotional support animal to help with those issues then you really need that help when you fly. 

If you do have a fear of flying you might be comforted to know that you are not alone and you don’t really need to take a horse with you to overcome these fears.  Many celebrities suffer the same anxiety every time they need to get on a flight –

These are just a few of them….

Colin Farrell
Miley Cyrus
Ben Affleck
Taylor Swift
Kate Winslet
Kirsten Dunst
Sandra Bullock
Jennifer Aniston
Megan Fox
Billy Bob Thorton
Justin Bieber

So you are not alone – there are lots of websites with advice out there – breathing techniques, meditation, listening to music, natural remedies, prescription remedies…. The fact of the matter is that in this big world we live in it is the easiest and quickest way to get from A to B …. But I guess if it is really an issue then to get to Europe you could always drive or train to New York and then do the Trans Atlantic on the Queen Mary – now THAT’s travel in style – and no jet lag either!

Peacocks on a plane?

A peacock on a plane?  Yes it gets stranger and stranger – the whole idea of emotional support animals.  Now I am no psychiatrist and I am sure there are very real ways some animals can calm, heal and reassure us humans.  Just a few weeks ago there was a story on Global News of a lady in Calgary who has chickens as emotional support animals and her fight was to enable her to keep them on her property.

Now that’s one thing – but taking a peacock on a plane???  I feel a bit sorry for the lady in question because she had even taken the step of purchasing a seat for the bird.  That made me pause for thought.  I wonder what she put in the name field on the reservation – Percy Peacock maybe – and of course the airline would have no idea until she arrived at the check in desk.

peacock

 

Now there are all sorts of animals that have been taken on board as an emotional support animal and it is a really tough thing for the airlines and for the other passengers on board.  Animal allergies have been raised.  Some people are deadly allergic to dogs and cats.  Not to mention that some strange emotional support animals are really really scary.

Like this –

chiefdragon

or this …. AAAAAARGH!

exotic-emotional-support-animal-tarantula

So if you have a fear of creepy crawlies you might be in need of some emotional support.

There have been pigs, ducks, turkeys and even miniature horses taken on flights.  Some ask when is this going to stop?   A recent article in the Washington Post reported –

By Karin Brulliard | Washington Post

When Marlin Jackson arrived at his row on a Delta flight from Atlanta to San Diego in June, the middle seat was already occupied by a man with a sizeable dog on his lap. Jackson squeezed by them to his window seat, and the Labrador mix lunged at his face. The attack lasted about 30 seconds, according to Jackson’s attorney, and left him with facial wounds that required 28 stitches and scars that are still visible today.

The mauling, which Delta said was inflicted by a canine identified as an “emotional support” animal, was among the thousands of incidents that just pushed the nation’s largest airline to tighten rules for passengers flying with service or comfort animals. In announcing the changes earlier this month, Delta said it flew 250,000 animals in those categories last year, an increase of 150 percent from 2015, while “incidents” such as biting or defecating had nearly doubled since 2016.

The debate goes on and everyone (at least in the States) seem to be citing their Federal Rights – those who need support animals and those who suffer badly from asthma or other allergy problems.