JetBlue Joins American, Alaska in Changing Rules for Emotional Support Animals
"As of January 11, 2021, emotional support animals will no longer be recognized as service animals."
JetBlue is the latest airline to no longer accept emotional support animals onboard flights.
In a statement provided to Travel + Leisure on Wednesday, a JetBlue spokesperson confirmed that "as of January 11, 2021, emotional support animals will no longer be recognized as service animals, JetBlue will no longer accept emotional support animals for new bookings for travel after that date."
The change in policy is an effect of a December ruling from the Department of Transportation, which strictly defined the capacity and function of a service animal. The only animal now allowed in the cabin as a service animal is a "dog that is individually trained to do work or perform tasks for the benefit of a person with a disability," which can include "physical, sensory, psychiatric, intellectual, or other mental disability."
The animal's owner must complete paperwork for the animal at least 48 hours before their flight and attest that they have been properly trained.
Emotional support animals for trips booked before Dec. 20, 2020, for travel through February 2021 will be allowed to fly, if all required documentation has already been submitted.
Customers who planned on bringing an emotional support animal onboard a flight on or after March 1 will need to consider other options, such as designating their animal as an "in-cabin pet."
"JetBlue is and has always been committed to serving those customers who require assistance or accommodations, while at the same time maintaining a safe and comfortable experience for all customers and crewmembers," the spokesperson said.
Earlier this month, American Airlines announced a similar ruling, which requires passengers with emotional support animals to bring them as carry-on (for $125) or in cargo. The rules will go into effect on Feb. 1. Alaska Airlines will implement a similar policy change on Jan.11, but will continue to accept emotional support animals on already-booked reservations through Feb. 28.