Possible changes to air travel rules for service animals – Comment by July 9

Information courtesy of the U.S. Department of Transportation

As a result of complaints from consumers and airlines, the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) is considering major changes for air travel rules for service animals. In 2017, DOT received 70 complaints against airlines from people with disabilities who have had difficulty traveling with their service animal. The airlines are having their own difficulties. One airline complaining to DOT stated that, since 2016, they have had an 84 percent spike in the number of behavior-related service animal problems, including urinating, defecating, or biting.

To address these complaints, DOT is considering amending its Air Carrier Access Act (ACAA) regulation on transportation of service animals. DOT wants to hear from you about how the regulations can be improved. Specifically, DOT wants to know:

  • Should the DOT amend its service animal regulation so psychiatric service animals are treated the same as other service animals?
  • Should the amended definition of a service animal include emotional support animals, or should emotional support animals be regulated separately from service animals?
  • Should there be species limitations on service animals and/or emotional support animals? If so, what should these limitations be?
  • Should there be a limit on the number of service animals/emotional support animals per passenger? If so, what should the limit be?

To read the full notice of the proposed changes, visit To leave a comment, click the blue “Comment Now!” button in the upper right corner. Comments are due by July 9.

For more information, contact Maegan Johnson, Senior Trial Attorney with the U.S. Department of Transportation, at 202-366-9342 or

Thanks for your help, advocates!

Doug Schmidt
Director of Communications
The Fifth Freedom Network

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