Miniature Horses Now Included on the List of Service Animals Airlines Must Allow to Fly

Chris6/iStock via Getty Images
Chris6/iStock via Getty Images

Unusual pets are fairly commons sights at the airport these days, but due to recent crackdowns, not all of them make it past the security gate. Many airlines try to limit the animals they allow in their cabin to cats and dogs, but following new guidelines issued by the U.S. Department of Transportation, that list may soon get more diverse. As The Drive reports, the DoT is now encouraging airlines to accept miniature horses as legitimate service animals for flyers.

Commercial airplanes, which aren't exactly known for being spacious, may be the last places you'd expect to see a horse. But miniature horses can provide essential services to people with disabilities such as visual impairments or mobility issues. Even though they're not very common as household pets, miniature horses rank among cats and dogs as some the most popular service animals.

With this in mind, the DoT updated its guidelines on which species should be permitted to fly in the cabins of commercial planes. The statement [PDF] reads:

"[A]fter reviewing the comments on this issue, we believe that it would be in the public interest and within our discretionary authority to prioritize ensuring that the most commonly recognized service animals (i.e., dogs, cats, and miniature horses) are accepted for transport."

This doesn't mean that all airlines are now obligated to board therapy mini horses by law, but if they decide to ignore the new guideline, they could face a penalty. The document also doesn't say that every service animal that isn't a cat, dog, or mini horse should be rejected outright; rather, every animal that's brought to an airline—whether it's a pig or peacock—should be considered on a case-by-case basis. The only creatures commercial flight companies are allowed to ban explicitly from flying with passengers are ferrets, rodents, snakes, reptiles, and spiders.

It's worth noting that the new guidelines don't necessarily apply to emotional support horses; while service animals are trained and protected by the Americans with Disabilities Act, emotional support animals require no training, just the assertion from their owners (and often a letter from a doctor) that the pet provides essential comfort. For this reason, emotional support animals are much more difficult to get into the cabins of planes.

[h/t The Drive]

This Convenient, Comfortable Travel Pillow Doesn’t Wrap Around Your Neck

Manuel-F-O/iStock via Getty Images
Manuel-F-O/iStock via Getty Images

If an angry bit of airplane turbulence has recently whammed your forehead into the window, you probably have the bruises to prove that sleeping on the go can be a dangerous game. Though neck pillows can offer some security, not everyone’s a fan—some people can’t sleep totally upright, some don’t think it provides enough support, and others simply don’t like the feeling of a plush toilet seat curled around their necks.

For those people, there’s the Ostrich Pillow Mini, a tiny, oblong pillow into which you slip your hand, forearm, or elbow, depending on what’s most comfortable for you. It will stay in place and protect your head from airplane turbulence in a way that no balled-up, threadbare hoodie ever could, but it’s not just for those lucky winners (or purchasers) of window seats. You can use the pillow wherever you might be inclined to rest your head on top of your arms, including plane or train trays, piles of library books, and office desks. One Amazon customer even used the pillows as elbow pads to protect himself from unforgivingly hard arm rests.

Ostrich pillow mini
Amazon

Since the Ostrich Pillow Mini essentially works as an extension of your arm, you don’t have to stay stone-still while you sleep. As Travel + Leisure’s Claudia Fisher puts it, “Sometimes, I even wake up from a nap to discover I’ve shifted in my sleep but brought my little arm pillow with me to support my head in its new spot.”

In addition to its main opening, the pillow has two other holes. One is a small, finger-sized opening through which you slide your thumb if you’re keeping the pillow on your hand. The other is a larger hole at the other end, through which you slide your hand if you want the pillow to stay on your forearm or elbow.

Ostrich pillow mini
Amazon

It’s compact enough that you can easily fit it into your carry-on bag, backpack, or briefcase, and understated enough that you can power nap in public without drawing attention to yourself. The outer layer is light gray, and the inner layer comes in Midnight Grey, Blue Reef, or Sleepy Blue. You can order it for $35 from Amazon.

Check out some other ways to make flying more comfortable here.

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How to Book Your Dream Vacation Now and Pay Later

grinvalds/iStock via Getty Images
grinvalds/iStock via Getty Images

Many websites make booking travel fast, cheap, and easy—but when it comes time to hit purchase, they still expect you to pay for your trip upfront. Outside of sweepstakes and dream jobs, paying for your ideal vacation is unavoidable, but a new feature from CheapAir.com makes it a little less painful. As Yahoo! reports, the online travel agency now lets customers book all the parts of their trip—including hotels and airfare—and pay for them in installments.

If you're fantasizing about a vacation you can't afford to take at this point in your life, you can take care of the logistics now and worry about paying for everything later. The new CheapAir.com feature works differently from most online booking services: Instead of paying for the components as you go, you set up a budget with the website at the start of the process. Once your budget is confirmed, you're given 21 days to plan your trip through the site. The cost of everything you book is subtracted from your budget, and CheapAir.com shows you what funds you have left so you don't pay more than you set out to spend.

After scheduling and booking your travel, CheapAir.com gives you up to a year to pay for your trip. You can break up the total cost of your bill into three, six, or 12 monthly installments at a 10 to 30 percent annual percentage rate. And before signing up for anything through the service, you must go through a quick credit approval process to qualify.

CheapAir.com is one of the latest travel websites that lets users book their trips now and pay for them later. Expedia also has a bill installment option if you're booking rooms and tickets that cost $200 or more, and some airlines, like American Airlines and British Airways, allow you to set up a payment plan through them directly.

[h/t Yahoo!]

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