Thursday, February 8, 2018

Emotional Support Companions

An emotional support peacock was turned away from Newark airport in New Jersey, USA. Reuters pic 

A woman tried to board her peacock on a flight departing from Newark Liberty International Airport, Newark in New Jersey, USA on January 27, 2018. 

She even claimed that she had bought a second ticket for her emotional support companion, but United Airlines refused to let the bird board the plane, Live and Let’s Fly reported. 

You’ll be surprised to know that this situation wasn’t really unusual. 

There has been soaring demands from anxious passengers to travel with "emotional support animals" – for the purpose of providing reassurance or as part of therapy. 

In fact, UA say requests have risen by 75% in a year. Last year, the airline received 76,000 requests from passengers wanting to travel with emotional support pets – up by more than 30,000 compared with the year before. 

Rules are now being tightened because of “onboard incidents involving these animals" – Delta Airlines claimed they experienced an 84% increase. 

Airlines maintain there are "serious safety risks involving untrained animals in flight". 

UA have a list of banned animals, including hedgehogs, ferrets, insects, rodents, snakes, spiders, reptiles and "non-household birds" – although animals such as guide dogs for the blind are not affected. 

Virgin Atlantic say they only allow dogs to be carried as emotional support pets. 

Delta had received requests to carry "comfort turkeys" and even possums and snakes. Their staff had their share of biting, growling and barking animals, as well as urination and defecation. 

British Airways, meanwhile, say that they do not allow passengers to bring any emotional support animals on board. So, no problem lah

Airlines like Delta already require passengers who bring support animals to provide a document signed by a veterinarian or licensed mental health professional verifying that their animal can behave. 

Sigh! Looks like my pet cockroaches will have to stay behind when I fly.

Today, I was at the USG Boral Toastmasters meeting. I was the Table Topics Evaluator. And all three impromptu speakers were really good. 

As I had come to expect, a good meeting. My predictable verdict.

No comments: