Breaking news: Pigs can fly. And monkeys and horses too
Next time you complain about your aircraft seatmate snoring like a pig, just take a second to check he isn’t actually a pig.
New guidance from the U.S. Department of Transportation for disabled fliers says U.S. airlines must allow service animals onto planes, as long as they don’t cause a health or safety hazard.
“You must permit a service animal to accompany a passenger with a disability to the passenger's assigned seat and remain there if the animal does not obstruct the aisle or other areas,” the draft manual titled “Nondiscrimination on the Basis of Disability in Air Travel” says.
But don’t be thinking this means you can bring your backstreet alley-procured endangered parrot back into the country.
For one thing, these rules only apply to U.S. airlines and airlines under a codeshare with a U.S. airline.
For another, animals that aren’t fluffy and cute, like “ferrets, rodents, spiders, snakes and other reptiles” for some reason are exempt.
For another, the manual also recommends real tight verification procedures, like … a little gentle questioning.
“You may begin by asking questions about the service animal, for example, “What tasks or functions does your animal perform for you?” or “What has its training been?” the manual states.
If you’re still not sure that the guy in dark glasses with a white stick is legit, look for things like harnesses or request documentation, staff are advised.
This all sounds very PC and disability-friendly, but I’m just wondering how long before we get the headline “Deaf guy and his hearing-aid llama interrogated, harassed by TSA.”
Couple weeks? I’ll give odds.