Alaska Airlines to give emotional support animals the boot

Back on the leash

The U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) has ruled that airlines no longer have to make the same accommodations for emotional support animals as they do for trained service dogs.

So it was just a matter of time before airlines starting to change their policies.

And now the changes have begun.

“This regulatory change is welcome news,” said Ray Prentice, director of customer advocacy at Alaska Airlines, in a statement. “It will help us reduce disturbances on board while continuing to accommodate our guests traveling with qualified service animals,”

Alaska Airlines is the first to take action. Starting January 11, 2021, the airline will only allow trained service dogs to travel for free in the cabin.

Under the revised policy, Alaska will only accept two service dogs per guest in the cabin, including psychiatric service dogs. Anyone flying with service dogs will have to complete a DOT form attesting that their animal is a legitimate service dog, is trained and vaccinated, and will behave during the flight.

Emotional support animals, whether they be pigs, monkeys, hamsters, lizards, or miniature horses, will no longer be allowed in the cabin.

Pets, including dogs, cats, rabbits, and household birds, can still fly, but they must be ticketed, at $100 each way. And passengers who bring pets onboard must keep them in a carrier, which counts towards the carry-on bag allotment.

So no more emotional support animals taking up a seat or a tray table. Or getting under you feet.

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