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Photo: Robert Nickelsberg/Getty Images

U.S. airlines want to make it harder for people to bring "passive emotional support" animals on their aircrafts, the Wall Street Journal reports.

Between the lines: American Airlines said in a letter to the Department of Transportation that regulations for flying with animals "are unnecessarily broad and easily abused. People have been bitten, licked, jumped on and growled at; aisles have been blocked, and animals have urinated and defecated on our planes," per the WSJ.

Airlines typically charge passengers $125 or more to fly with a pet, the WSJ reports, while service animals and animals meant for emotional support fly for free.

  • Yes, but: Some emotional support animals are deemed so after passengers get certification "from overly permissive online agencies or dress them up in official-looking vests to obtain free passage."

What's happening:

  • Trade groups and member airlines are requesting that the Department of Transportation "bring their guidelines in line with the Americans with Disabilities Act," per the WSJ, to more strictly define what service animals are.

Between the lines: The number of emotional support animals jumped from 481,000 to 751,000 from 2016 to 2017, trade group Airlines for America reports.

  • In January this year, United denied flight access to an "emotional-support peacock" that a woman wanted to bring aboard.
  • In 2014, a female passenger brought an emotional-support pig on her U.S. Airways flight.
  • Daniel, an emotional-support duck, waddled onto a flight in 2016 with his owner who has PTSD.
  • Spirit Airlines told a student she couldn't bring her emotional-support dwarf hamster on the flight; she ended up flushing it down the toilet.
  • American Airlines banned specific emotional support animals, per the Chicago Tribune: "[A]mphibians, goats, hedgehogs, insects, nonhousehold birds and animals with tusks, horns or hooves."

What they're saying:

  • Some disability groups complain that if airlines don't recognize support and service animals — including animals other than just dogs — than people "may have to find another way to travel."
  • But the American Psychological Association said in a statement to the WSJ: "Emotional support animals are clearly different from service animals and as such should not be afforded the same status as service animals."

Go deeper

"Atmospheric river" swings Northern California from drought to flood

Satellite view of the bomb cyclone swirling off the coast of the Pacific Northwest and the atmospheric river affecting California on Oct. 24. Photo: CIRA/RAMMB

A series of powerful "atmospheric river" storms are delivering historic amounts of rainfall across parts of drought-stricken California and the Pacific Northwest.

Why it matters: The atmospheric river, packing large amounts of moisture, was causing Northern California to whiplash from drought to flood, as it slowly moved south overnight. It's triggered widespread power outages, flooding and mudslides.

Updated 1 hour ago - World

U.S. threatens to cut aid to Sudan after military takeover

Sudanese Prime Minister Abdallah Hamdok during a 2020 news conference in Khartoum, Sudan. Photo: Mahmoud Hjaj/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images

Sudan's civilian Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok was put under house arrest and several other ministers were detained Monday in what appears to be a military coup in the country, per local reports.

The latest: The head of the military faction of the Sudanese government, Gen. Abdul Fattah al-Burhan, said in a statement that he is announcing a state of emergency, suspending several parts of the interim constitution and dissolving the civilian government and interim sovereignty council — the highest governing body in the country.

Facebook's pivotal week

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

They're battening down the hatches at Facebook headquarters this week as the company faces a trifecta of tumult: a continuing wave of negative press coverage fueled by document leaks, a critical earnings report Monday and a reported name change looming.

The big picture: All this is unfolding as Mark Zuckerberg tries to transform Facebook from a social network into the prime mover behind a new "metaverse" of VR- and AR-driven remote work and play.

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