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May 15, 2018

American Airlines bans hedgehogs, goats and other comfort animals from flights

Planning a trip? Don't bring your ferret

Odd News Travel
Philadelphia International Airport Thom Carroll/PhillyVoice

The Philadelphia International Airport.

Bad news if you were planning to bring your emotional support goat for summer travels – American Airlines has banned the animals, along with a slew of other eccentric comfort critters, from traveling in its planes' cabins ahead of peak summer tourism season.

The changes will take effect on American Airlines flights starting July 1, just several months after a comfort dog died on a United Airlines flight after being stored in an overhead bin. Before that incident, comfort animals had already piqued the public's interest after a now-viral peacock tried to catch a plane in Newark earlier this year.

For American Airlines, the new ban extends to insects, goats, hedgehogs, ferrets, spiders, non-household birds (chickens, hawks), and unclean or smelly animals. If an animal seems particularly violent or aggressive, it will also be prohibited from boarding a plane with its owner.

Miniature horses properly trained as service animals are still in the clear though. Should we thank Li'l Sebastian?

American Airlines also announced Monday that those planning to travel with an animal must fill out the appropriate paperwork at least 48 hours ahead of the flight. The airline said it would also be more active in contacting medical professionals to verify a passenger's request for an onboard comfort animal.

“We support the rights of customers, from veterans to people with disabilities, with legitimate needs for a trained service or support animal,” American Airlines said in a statement.

“Unfortunately, untrained animals can lead to safety issues for our team, our customers and working dogs onboard our aircraft.”

Earlier this month United Airlines announced it would begin working with American Humane and introduced its own set of new animal guidelines, banning more than 50 breeds of dogs, and four cat breeds, and requiring animals to be able to fit into an approved container, which the airline now sells.