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Southwest Airlines to ban emotional support animals onboard flights, only trained dogs allowed

Southwest Airlines aircraft preparing to land in airport
Photo: Dreamstime

Dallas-based Southwest Airlines has announced changes to its policies regarding trained service animals, and the airline has joined American, Delta, Alaska, and United by banning emotional support animals.

Beginning March 1, 2021, Southwest will only accept trained service dogs for travel on its aircraft.

The move comes after the Department of Transportation (DOT) revised their Air Carrier Access Act on December 2, which no longer lists support animals as service animals.

“We applaud the Department of Transportation’s recent ruling that allows us to make these important changes to address numerous concerns raised by the public and airline employees regarding the transport of untrained animals in the cabins of aircraft,” said Steve Goldberg, Senior Vice President, Operations and Hospitality.

“Southwest Airlines continues to support the ability of qualified individuals with a disability to bring trained service dogs for travel and remains committed to providing a positive and accessible travel experience for all of our customers with disabilities.”

Customers traveling with guide dogs must present a complete and accurate DOT Service Animal Air Transportation Form at the gate or ticket counter on their day of travel to affirm a service animal’s health, behavior, and training.

Customers should complete the form, which will be available on the airline’s website and at airport locations, after booking their travel.

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