Most pet owners say they'd pay extra to bring animals on a plane: Survey
While some major airlines have cracked down on emotional support animals, most pet owners are willing to pay top dollar for their animal companions – whether they provide emotional support or not.
According to a new consumer survey by Value Penguin, 80% of pet owners say they would pay more money to secure a cabin seat for their pet versus the cargo hold.
One in five respondents even said they’d be willing to shell out more than $300 to get their pet on a plane while nearly two in five said they’d be willing to spend more than $100.
Meanwhile, 22% said they’d spend less than $100 to ensure their pet has a spot on the plane.
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Of those who are supportive of pets on planes, 24% told Value Penguin they’d try their best to avoid an airline that has restrictive pet policies.
Although not all travelers are fans of emotional support animals and pets on commercial flights, most believe exceptions can be made when there is a legitimate need for it.
Thirty-three percent of the survey’s respondents said they think a limited selection of animals should be allowed on planes while 31% said they think animals should be let on a flight if a passenger has a "valid reason."
Another 20% said they think pets should be allowed on a plane without restrictions, but they also note that there should be clear rules and guidelines in place.
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Thirteen percent of consumers think people who want to bring animals on a flight should have to pay extra for their ticket.
Value Penguin’s survey comes three months after the U.S. Department of Transportation announced emotional support animals would no longer be considered service animals under the Air Carrier Access Act, which strips federal protection from animals that don’t perform a task.
According to the Americans with Disabilities Act, a service animal is defined as a dog that has been individually trained to do work or perform tasks for an individual with a disability, and the "task(s) performed by the dog must be directly related to the person's disability."
Dogs and other animals that solely provide comfort or emotional support do not fit the ADA’s requirements. Without the same recognition as their service animal counterparts, emotional support animals are not allowed in government facilities or businesses that serve the public, including commercial airlines.
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Shortly after the Department of Transportation’s announcement, multiple airlines updated previous boarding policies to exclude emotional support animals, including American Airlines, Delta Air Lines, United Airlines, JetBlue, Southwest Airlines, Frontier and Alaska Airlines.
In recent years, some airline passengers have made headlines for trying to bring unconventional emotional support animals on flights, ranging from birds, hamsters, pigs, horses and more.
These strange instances might be a reason why 34% of consumers told Value Penguin they support the ban of emotional support animals on flights although they feel bad that people who are truly in need might be hurt by the policy.