Your next flight could feel more like a petting zoo.
Miniature horses are among the types of service animals the US Department of Transportation has approved for planes in their latest ruling on the matter.
The decision came after more than a year of deliberations over how to regulate service animals and emotional support animals on flights. Travelers have tried to bring in all kinds of animals onto flights in recent years, from peacocks to pet pigs.
But along with the medical and emotional benefits animals provide come with some of the more obvious drawbacks of bringing them into such confined spaces. Recently, a Delta passenger was attacked by a veteran’s emotional support pit bull.
In July, a flight attendant needed stitches after being bit by an emotional support dog. In the gross-but-not-entirely-surprising category, in 2014, a flight to Los Angeles was grounded after a service dog pooped multiple times in the aisle, causing people on the flight to dry heave or throw up.
Flight attendants were starting to get fed up with the loosey goosey rules on animals, especially given that emotional support licenses have become increasingly dubious.
“In the last few weeks alone Flight Attendants have been hurt and safety has been compromised by untrained animals loose in the cabin,” a statement from the Association of Flight Attendants read. “Fraudulent claims of emotional support animals not only threatens safety and health, it can interfere with the rights of passengers who legitimately need the assistance of trained animals.”
The new rules from the department were an attempt to give airlines some guidelines for what they can and can’t ban on flights. And believe it or not, the department considers miniature horses one of the more “common” service animals that are “generally accepted for transport.”
The horses were grouped in the same category as dogs and cats.
A spokesperson for the Association of Flight Attendants confirmed that the tiny equines are quite the travelers.
“Yes, there have been flights with service miniature horses, though it’s not very common,” the rep told The Post. “Passengers are normally accommodated in a bulkhead row to allow for some extra room.”
Documentation of service miniature horses is sparse, but not unheard of.
But, the department drew the line with some animals, thank heavens. Support snakes, ferrets, rodents and spiders (yes, spiders) can freely be turned away by airlines.
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