According to the Air carrier access act (ACAA) , it can be. Now if you want to take your rodent, reptile, or spider, not so fast! These pets are considered potentially harmful to passengers.
The ACAA designates the difference between service animals and emotional support animals, but requires the airlines to allow them on the planes. The differences are in the documentation requirements. In the case of the emotional support animal, a Mental health professional must certify that the pet is needed for emotional support. Most airlines require notice of 48 hours as well as certification. The pet also must be well behaved and be able to sit in your lap or at your feet without encroaching on the other passengers. As for the lady who took her pig on the plane as an emotional support animal, I’d like to know what professional signed that form! This time it was a clear example of abuse of the system. A 70 pound pig that poops on the airplane floor has no place, but could the airline have declined boarding the pig? Probably not, if the passenger supplied the appropriate documentation from a healthcare professional, the airlines have their hands tied until the animal is on the plane and exhibits inappropriate behavior that is consider a risk to the other passengers. Is the use of an emotional support animal being abused? Most definitely, but the other side to the coin is for those people that need the support such as our veterans. Many people who travel with emotional support animals have no outward signs of why the animal is necessary. In the most recent instance that hit the news, it took collusion between a physician and a customer in order to make that not so little pig fly.