On Jan. 22, 2020, the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) released proposed rules on animals on planes. If they finalize these rules, airlines would no longer be forced to recognize emotional support animals as service animals and may treat them as pets.
Under the proposed rule, only qualified service dogs would be allowed on planes at no extra charge. Additionally, passengers with physical or psychological disabilities who need to bring a service dog into the cabin may have to fill out a new federal form attesting that it has been trained to perform tasks that address the disability.
The Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America (AAFA) has been advocating for equal rights for people with asthma and allergies on planes. We have also met with the DOT and airlines to discuss the need for rules that allow all people with disabilities (including asthma and allergies) to be treated fairly – not favoring one disability over another.
In a New York Times article, Kenneth Mendez, CEO and president of AAFA, had the chance to speak about the rule on behalf of people with asthma and allergies:
...The proposed rules might help curb some of the abuses by people taking animals on airplanes and saying they were there for emotional support.
But you also have to take into account those passengers with asthma and allergies, and there is a growing number of animals on airplanes...
The DOT will be accepting comments on the proposed rule. We are working on AAFA’s full response to the DOT and will submit it when the public comment period opens. We’ll keep our community updated when it’s time to take action!