emotional support animal
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Canadian soldier Kate Skywalker travelled back to her home town; Halifax to spend a Thanksgiving weekend. To her surprise, her emotional support animal was not accepted for a free ride. The airline insisted that she has to pay for her cat to be able to board the plane and that the animal must be professionally trained to be allowed to fly with her.

“I can’t stay away from my cat since she’s the only one who can calm me down. I usually get anxious when I’m exposed to the crowd. And it can grow to severe anxiety in the absence of my cat”, Kate related.

For 10 years, Kate served in the Air Canadian Armed Forces. However, she had a medical discharge when it was found out that she is experiencing anxiety and depression due to her profession.

What frustrated Kate most is the fact that Air Canada won’t listen to her despite the fact that she is complete with the needed documents including her pet’s registration and medical request from her doctor to bring her emotional support animal for her legitimate illness.

“I can’t believe it. I have all the requirements they need and yet they won’t listen to me”, Kate said.

On the official website of Air Canada, you will find that they only offer free flights for professional trained service animals boarding the plan to assist a certain passenger with disabilities. These pets will only stay at the passenger’s feet, harnessed securely and well trained to do its job.

Surprisingly, another airline from Canada; the WestJet allows emotional support animals to board for free. And that animals employed to provide emotional support do not necessarily need to be trained.

If you look at the U.S. law, you can see that the airlines are mandated to board emotional support animals for free, considering that the owner has documents to support one’s claims. And though Kate’s cat was eventually allowed to board, waived from its supposedly $50 fee, Kate still felt that Air Canada’s policy is discriminatory, especially due to the fact that they only allow support animals for those who are physically disable.

When asked to review it policy, Air Canada refused to answer and only re-emphasized their rule that they don’t allow emotional support animals to board on their planes, may it be for international or local travels. However, they may have some exceptions for flights in between Canada and U.S. since they need to abide to the law of America with regards to emotional support animals as well.