Starting Jan. 7, on United flights, emotional support animals will have to be over 4 months in age

By Kelli Bender
January 03, 2019 05:16 PM

United Airlines has introduced new limitations to its emotional support animal policy.

In a statement from the airline obtained by PEOPLE, United says that starting Jan. 7 only cats and dogs will be allowed on United flights as emotional support animals.

“We are limiting acceptance of emotional support animals to dogs and cats. Additionally, we are limiting acceptance of service animals to dogs, cats and miniature horses,” the statement reads.

This is similar to the changes Delta announced to its emotional support animal policy in late 2018. Like Delta, United is also limiting emotional support animals to short-haul flights only.

“We are limiting emotional support animals to flights under 8 hours. We have seen increases in onboard incidents on longer flights involving these animals, many of which are unaccustomed to spending an extended amount of time in the cabin of an aircraft,” United added in its statement.

The airline also announced one more change, this one affecting United’s entire pet policy.

“We will no longer accept kittens or puppies under four months of age as emotional support animals, in-cabin pets or service animals on any flight, regardless of length. Animals under the age of four months typically have not received the necessary vaccinations that help ensure the safety of our employees and customers,” United added.

All of these changes go into effect on Monday, Jan. 7. The airline will honor reservations affected by these changes that were made prior to Jan. 3, as long as the animal is covered under the previous policy and has the right documentation.

United said statement that it made these adjustments in an effort “to further ensure the well-being of our employees and customers while accommodating passengers with disabilities.”

These changes coming almost one year after United made headlines for prohibiting an emotional support peacock from boarding one of its flights.