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]

When Should You Book Your Thanksgiving and Christmas Flights? Right Now!

zoff-photo/iStock via Getty Images
zoff-photo/iStock via Getty Images

For many people, paying for distressingly expensive airline tickets is just part of life when it comes to traveling for the holidays. And, while you might think you’ll get the best deal by checking fluctuating prices obsessively from today until the day before Thanksgiving, you’re probably better off booking your flights right now.

“Once you get within three or four months, the chance of something cheap popping up for Christmas or New Year’s is not very likely,” Scott Keyes, the founder of Scott’s Cheap Flights, told Travel + Leisure. “Certainly don’t wait until the last week or two because prices are going to be way higher.”

This is partially because airlines devise algorithms based on last year’s ticket sales and trends, and they know many travelers will fork over some serious cash rather than decide not to go home for the holidays—and there are always plenty of people who wait until the last minute to book their flights. In fact, so you know for next year, the absolute best time to book holiday travel is actually during the summer.

Scott Mayerowitz, the executive editorial director of The Points Guy, admits that it is possible to save a little money if you’re extremely diligent about following flight prices leading up to the holidays, but he thinks your mental health is worth much more than the pittance you might (or might not) save. “The heartache and headache of constantly searching for the best airfare can drive you insane,” he told Travel + Leisure. “Your time and sanity [are] worth something.”

If you’re not willing to throw in the towel just yet, you could always track the prices for a little while, and give yourself a hard deadline for booking your flights in a few weeks. Mayerowitz says buying your seats at least six weeks in advance—or earlier—is a good rule of thumb for holiday travel. That still leaves you several weeks to periodically scroll through flight listings and get a feel for what seems like a reasonable price.

To minimize your travel anxiety even further, try to fly one one of these dates, and check out eight other tips for a stress-free holiday trip.

[h/t Travel + Leisure]

Welcome to Cool, California. Population: 2520

Alan Levine, Flickr // CC BY 2.0
Alan Levine, Flickr // CC BY 2.0

It’s not hard to find U.S. towns with some pretty weird (and sometimes depressing) names, so we shouldn't be surprised that people have the option of settling in the tiny town of Cool, California.

Initially named Cave Valley, due to the limestone formations nearby, the town popped up around 1849 during the California Gold Rush. The population eventually grew to 4100 people.

It's unclear when the town went from Cave Valley to being Cool. One legend suggests that a beatnik named Todd Hausman bequeathed the name after passing through in the 1950s, but the veracity of that story is doubtful since the Cool Post Office was founded as early as 1885. According to Condé Nast Traveler, records show that a reverend named Peter Y. Cool came out to pan gold and settled in the town in 1850, possibly serving as the source of the change.

Whatever the origin of its name, the town of Cool has ample branding opportunities. There’s the Cool Grocery Store and the Cool Beerwerks brewery and restaurant, which specializes in Hawaiian-Japanese fusion cuisine. Cool has held the Way Too Cool 50K Endurance Run every year since 1990.

[h/t Condé Nast Traveler]

SECTIONS

arrow
LIVE SMARTER