Alaska Airlines Is First US Airline To Ban Emotional Support Animals
Early in December, the U.S. Department of Transportation today announced a revision of the Air Carrier Access Act (ACAA) regulation on the transportation of service animals by air. The new rules define a service animal as “a dog that is individually trained to do work or perform tasks for the benefit of a person with a disability,” according to the release.
Following those changes, Alaska Airlines will become the first airline to stop accepting emotional support animals on its flights. 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.
“This regulatory change is welcome news, as it will help us reduce disturbances onboard, while continuing to accommodate our guests traveling with qualified service animals,” said Ray Prentice, director of customer advocacy at Alaska Airlines in the press release.
Alaska’s new policy allows up to two service dogs per guest in the cabin, to include 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 prior to travel, guests must submit the completed form via email. For reservations booked less than 48 hours prior to travel, guests must submit the form in person to the Customer Service Agent upon arrival at the airport.
Alaska will continue to accept emotional support animals under its current policy for reservations booked prior to Jan. 11, 2021, for flights on or before Feb. 28, 2021. No emotional support animals will be accepted for travel after Feb, 28, 2021.