NBC Chicago: There’s an increasing likelihood that your next seatmate could be a dog — or a cat — or a turtle — or a chicken or a pig or even a kangaroo – and there’s really not much you can do about it.
They’re called Emotional Support Animals – ESAs. Almost anybody can bring one, or two, or three — or even more – on board a plane, and virtually all species (other than snakes) are allowed. All you need is a letter from a licensed mental health professional, saying that you would benefit by having an ESA during plane travel. That allows your animal to sit with you for free, and you don’t have to pay the $125 fee that you’d otherwise likely be charged to bring your pet on board.
I was alerted to this story on a friend’s Facebook page after she mentioned the person next to her on a plane had her dog out of its carrier and on the floor. Let me be clear: we’re not talking about trained service animals. These ’emotional support animals’ are pets or other animals with no training whatsoever.
We’ve reached a point where everyone thinks they can do whatever they want, and screw anyone else who might be affected. This is wrong. We live in a society (for now) and that means a social contract exists in which you may not be able to do something just because you want to do so.
For instance, if you are terrified to fly, then get prescription medication to calm you down or endure being terrified for a little while. If you’re unwilling to do that and simply want your poodle or kangaroo or turtle to be with you, then you shouldn’t be able to fly. Period. Other people should have the right to travel without dealing with the petting zoo you brought with you in order to calm your nerves.
There is absolutely no room on planes as it is. The last thing anyone wants to put up with is your dumb dog barking and yapping for 3 hours or peeing on your seatmate’s laptop bag. Do everyone a favor and stay home. Pretty please. With sugar on top.