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Thursday, July 19, 2018

ESA Time

So, I was buying some airline tickets yesterday for an upcoming trip when I notice this:
Beginning July 1, 2018, regardless of ticket purchase date, a Customer must provide notification of their intention to travel with an emotional support/psychiatric service animal and submit their documents at least 48 hours prior to departure.
Emmm, first off – why is the word customer capitalized? Just FYI, only proper nouns, in English, get that treatment (unless of course we're shouting. In which case the entire word's in caps, eh?).

Second – Emotional Service Animals (ESAs) are a thing now? Cool! Not that she’d go along with this but…COCO! She TOTALLY counts – right?

jetBlue defines these babies like so:
An emotional support animal or psychiatric service animal provides comfort to support a customer's diagnosed mental or emotional disorder. Emotional support animals need not have specific training for that function, while psychiatric service animals are task trained. All must be trained to behave appropriately in a public setting. 
Do I have a diagnosed mental or emotional disorder? Eh, no but I bet Janice could come up with something tame/not scary that’d fit the bill.

Documentation is needed. I can’t just say I gotta travel with the tux near me or else I’m gonna be a mess. Seriously! No lie!
Customers traveling with emotional support or psychiatric service animals will need to submit three jetBlue-specific documents for review. These documents are:
  • Medical/Mental Health Professional form
  • Veterinary Health form
  • Confirmation of Animal Behavior form
I can’t find any PDFs or details on that last bit – the Confirmation of Animal Behavior Form. Can I just write up my own note stating that Coco’s a very good girl who always displays the most courteous and patrician manners. Will that fly?

Now then, If I was so callous as to uproot my sweet, homebody kitten from her crib (and it IS hers) I could jet with her without the Emotional Support Beast title. Granted that’d cost an extra hundred clams each way BUT it can be done.
Another interesting bit:
Firearms and Service/Emotional Support Animals
Armed individuals are not permitted to travel with a service or emotional support animal. Armed individuals traveling with a service or emotional support animal will be required to check their weapon into the cargo bin in accordance with requirements outlined in the Contract of Carriage.
Yeah, needing an inflight ESA by your side is kind of a red flag that you shouldn’t also have a gun on you.

What kind of animals qualify as ESAs? The website ESA Doctors says that any pet can qualify – even pet rats. Pet rats??? Are they this year's teacup pig? Another ESA site, Moosh, tells me that:
Rats have a much higher level of intelligence than most other animals. They are the smartest rodents in the class, sitting up front with perfectly sharpened pencils, straight ties and an apple for the teacher! They are easily trained to live cleanly in your house, to eat their own food and not yours, to go to the toilet inside their designated potty, and to do cool tricks such as sit, roll over, dance and even shake hands!
They also note that rats are not navel-gazing introverts.  Emmmm, fine but I think I’ll stick with cats. Also too, jetBlue a no-go for pet rats, monkeys, pythons and other random, not run of the mill pets.
Acceptable emotional support and psychiatric service animals are limited to dogs, cats, and miniature horses.
MINIATURE HORSES???! Yur shittin’ me?
Emotional Rescue – The Stones


  1. There have been a few incidents and it makes sense that airlines would want to make sure passengers see their rules in advance. If it were me, I'd certainly want to make sure my emotional support elephant would be allowed on board.

    1. WOW! That story (at the link) is weird and horrible!

      You have a teacup elephant? :-) I hear they're all the rage now!

  2. I'd kinda' like to know in advance if there are any snakes on-board.

  3. Really funny and informative! Animals are not only invaluable companions, but can also help people in special circumstances, such as service dogs for those with physical disabilities and emotional support animals for mental/emotional disabilities. Most people prefer to have emotional support animals, especially dogs and cats, because an ESA, unlike service dogs, does not require special training. Besides, ESAs play an important role in alleviating the emotions of the owner such as anxiety, depression or other mental illnesses. The most common and popular type of ESA is the emotional support dog. There are legal protections that allow them to stay in homes where pets are not allowed or on flights. However, most public places prohibit access to ESAs, in contrast to service dogs, which are not denied access.