It's been in the news a lot lately. People can now bring dogs, cats, pigs, even miniature horses on an airplane. For free. All you have to do is go on the Internet and basically buy a certificate that states your "animal" is an emotional support animal. The information I found on the Internet says: "Any animal can be an emotional support animal. Federal law does not require these animals to have any training. You do not have to be disabled to have an Emotional Support Animals. These animals are for people with mild anxiety or depression. " Now, I have absolutely no issue with an animal that is on an airplane with a passenger and is necessary to this passenger's well-being. I always (used) to call any animal on board my favorite passenger. Service animals (definition: service animals must perform a task for an owner with a disability or medical condition) are amazing. Not to repeat myself, but they are the best behaved passenger on the airplane. They don't get mad when we run out of space for their bags. They don't care if we're 2 hours late. They behave. They do. They are trained to. They can't misbehave if they try. It's in their DNA.
Not so with these new, "I bought a certificate for my animal from the Internet to avoid the outrageous airplane fees those thieves want to charge me" types. In the past year, I've had Emotional Support Animals that bark. A lot. Lay on empty seats or onto other's passengers body parts, lay spread out into the aisle so that I've had to step over them every time I walk by. They snarl at everybody. They whine. They have diarrhea. (If you think a baby's soiled diaper is a bad smell in a tight space, times that by 10). They steal food from the passenger beside them. They beg for food from the passenger beside them. You get the idea. So after a flight with 3 very large males (people) and 2 very large dogs and 2 cats (not in cages) all in one very small row with 150 other people, I went to my manager and complained. She agreed. " This is something that has gotten completely out of hand. Is it likely to stop?" I ask. "No" she says. "But I can one up you" she says to me. "This morning, in our home town, they had to board an emotional support chicken." A chicken. Spend some time imagining having your seatmate on your next flight be a chicken. Support? No. Complete and utter nonsense? Yes. .