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USA: the revolt of blind passengers

Organizations ask Department of Transportation to simplify regulations

New rules from the US Department of Transportation have made travel more difficult for blind passengers. The rules, which took effect in January 2021, were aimed to forbid the increase in passengers passing off untrained pets as service animals for the blind or emotional support animals.

Some travelers have tried bringing peacocks, pigs, ducks and even pygmy horses on board planes. In some cases they defecated in the cabin or attacked crew members, passengers and other animals present, such as guide dogs for the blind. This is why the US Department of Transportation has ruled that emotional support animals are no longer considered service animals.

For this reason, American airlines must make a greater effort to allow passengers with guide dogs to fly safely, even if they do not submit the animal training form in time (at least 48 hours before the flight). But the efforts are not enough. For example, Elizabeth Schoen's guide dog, trained to navigate crowded and chaotic environments such as airports (the animal knows how to find elevators, follow the baggage claim line) remained on the ground together with his owner because of these rules. 

Therefore, the organizations that protect the rights of the blind (the American Council of the Blind, the Guide Dog Users, the National Federation of the Blind, the National Association of Guide Dog Users), which have recently been audited at the US Department of Transportation, have asked that boarding procedures be changed and dropped the requirement to submit the form.

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AVIONEWS - World Aeronautical Press Agency