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Alaska Airlines first to ban emotional support animals on flights

Alaska Airlines jets at the Seattle Airport waiting to be loaded with passengers and luggage.
Photo: Dreamstime

Alaska Airlines announced that it would no longer allow travelers to bring emotional support animals on its planes for any reservations booked made after January 11. 

Alaska airline is become the first to ban emotional support animals following the U.S. Department of Transportation guidelines about what kind of support animals should be allowed on passenger planes.

“Effective Jan. 11, 2021, Alaska will only transport service dogs, which are specially trained to perform tasks for the benefit of a qualified individual with a disability. ,” Alaska Airlines said in a statement.

Travelers with emotional support animals with reservations booked before Jan. 11 will still be allowed to fly, but no exceptions will be made after February 28. 

The U.S. Department of Transportation released new rules in early December that were celebrated by some people who complain that unscrupulous people had been using “emotional support” as an excuse to bring their untrained and undisciplined pets on planes without a real need. 

The new rules will not apply to guide dogs trained to perform specific tasks, such as dogs for people who are blind or have low vision. 

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

Under the revised policy, Alaska will accept a maximum of two service dogs per guest in the cabin, including psychiatric service dogs. Guests will be required to complete a DOT form, which will be available on AlaskaAir.com beginning Jan. 11, attesting that their animal is a legitimate service dog, is trained and vaccinated, and will behave appropriately during the journey.

For reservations booked more than 48 hours before travel, guests must submit the completed form via email. For reservations booked less than 48 hours before travel, guests must submit the form in person to the Customer Service Agent upon arrival at the airport. 

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