Longtime readers of this blog may remember my last "you're a piece of shit if..." post about people who travel with fake emotional support animals, and my rage toward these pieces of shit (the people, not the animals) has only intensified since then. It makes my blood boil that for some reason a seemingly large percentage of pet owners thinks it's okay to fake a disability in order to game the system and bring their pet on a plane. Of course it's selfish (other passengers may be allergic to your dog (or duck)), and of course it makes flying just that little bit more annoying for everyone else, but it's that brazen subversion of an ethical norm that really gets under my skin. Well, it was only a matter of time before airlines would do something about it, since planes are basically turning into pet stores with wings. Delta made news last week by being first up to the plate, and they've instituted some very common-sense regulations. Here's a basic rundown:
The first thing that bothers me about this doesn't have anything to do with Delta. I'm mad at the cocksnipes who insisted on pushing the limits of the loophole until airlines (Delta in this case) had no choice but to crack down. Now a blind person who requires a service animal to fly has to jump through a coupe more hoops just to get their dog on the plane, thanks to those cocksnipes. As if it isn't hard enough to fly with a disability, now there's this paperwork requirement, a 48-hour deadline, and having to have a gate agent give the final approval (since we all know how gate agents have impeccable and consistent judgment 100% of the time), all so some perineum could take his golden doodle on vacation with him.
(As an aside, can we all agree how stupid the name "golden doodle" is? I get "labradoodle" since it's a contraction of labrador and poodle, but there's no "D" in the middle of the word "retriever." It's not like a "doodle" is a breed of dog. The following would be more acceptable, if we're following the same rules as those that created "labradoodle"...
- Golden poodle
- Golden Repoodle
- Pooden Retriever
- Just get a rescue, you cocksnipe)
Looking at the actual forms that Delta requires you to fill out, the requirements for trained service animals aren't actually that onerous - and I'm sure that has to do with the ADA's fairly strict rules about how businesses can't create any undue burdens for passengers with disabilities. In fact, the only paperwork required is a veterinary health form documenting that the animal's vaccines are up to date. (Boy I hope Jenny McCarthy doesn't need a service animal, amirite?)
Since most people gaming the system are in the emotional support animal camp, it makes sense that additional documentation would be required for them. However, part of the ADA as I understand it is that a business can't ask you what your particular disability is or why you need a service animal. So, given that these ESA abusers are already huge selfish pieces of shit, I'm wondering what percentage of them will just insist to the poor gate agent that their golden retroodle is a trained service animal and "YOU'RE NOT ALLOWED TO ASK ME THAT AND I'M FILMING THIS ON YOUTUBE AND YOU'RE HARASSING ME AND GET READY TO BE ON FACEBOOK LIVE!!!!!"
So far, we haven't seen people try to pass their animals off as trained service animals, because it's just easier to claim it's an ESA and leave it at that. Now that Delta is requiring a signed letter from a doctor and an affidavit that the animal has completed training, I wonder how many people will just buy a service dog vest off eBay and try to claim that it's a true service animal instead. I hope Delta trains the shit out of its check-in agents to be able to tell the difference between a noble german shepherd and my bratty husky who's too busy sniffing around to care that I may be having a seizure (let alone a panic attack).
However, seeing how they rolled out this policy with no notice, I'm guessing not. It goes into effect on March 1st, so there is actually a good chance that Delta will have its collective shit together. This isn't the muslim ban, you guys.
Not that you couldn't easily fake the doctor's note to get around the new ESA documentation requirements. I guess the difference is that there's nothing at all required right now, so making people jump through even the most minimal of hoops will probably cut down significantly those who abuse the system willy nilly. The people who still try to game the system post-regulation are really going to be the absolute worst of the worst, though.
Anyway, this is good news for us flyers. I'm just mad that it had to get to this point in the first place, and that all the fuckpacks I called out in my last post actually did end up ruining it (or at least making it harder) for people with a legitimate need for these heroic creatures.