Alaska Airlines Is Tightening Its Emotional Support Animal Policy

Apr 19, 2018

This post contains references to products from one or more of our advertisers. We may receive compensation when you click on links to those products. Terms apply to the offers listed on this page. For an explanation of our Advertising Policy, visit this page.

Alaska Airlines is tightening its policy for passengers traveling with emotional support and psychiatric service animals.

The carrier announced on Thursday that it’s getting set to implement the new policy for new reservations beginning next month. For tickets purchased after May 1, 2018, passengers traveling with emotional support or psychiatric service animals must provide animal health and behavioral documents, as well as a signed document from a medical doctor or mental health professional. The required documentation must be provided to Alaska at least 48 hours prior to departure.

It’s worth noting that this change does not apply to Alaska’s policy for traditional service animals.

“Alaska is committed to providing accessible services to guests with disabilities and ensuring a safe environment for all flyers,” said Ray Prentice, Alaska’s director of customer advocacy. “We are making these changes now based on a number of recent incidents where the inappropriate behavior of emotional support animals has impacted and even injured our employees, other guests and service animals.”

Alaska says that in recent years, the number of emotional support and psychiatric service animals traveling on the carrier has increased drastically. It predicts that approximately 150 emotional support and psychiatric service animals travel on Alaska Airlines every day.

Prentice said that because of the uptick in the number of animals traveling, the airline has seen an increase in the number of incidents from animals that haven’t been adequately trained to “behave in a busy airport setting or on a plane.”

If you book a new reservation with Alaska on or after May 1, and are traveling with an emotional support or psychiatric service animal, you must email or fax Alaska the following three documents at least 48 hours prior to departure. (All documents will be available on starting April 30):

  1. Animal Health Advisory Form — Acknowledges Alaska’s recommendation that all emotional support and psychiatric service animals travel with a veterinary-issued health certificate.
  2. Mental Health Form — Currently required, this is a letter issued by a mental health professional or medical doctor approving the use of an emotional support or psychiatric service animal.
  3. Animal Behavior Form — A signed affidavit affirming the emotional support or psychiatric service animal is trained to behave in public and that the owner accepts all liability for any injuries or damage to property.

This move from Alaska to tighten its restrictions on emotional support and psychiatric service animals follows similar moves from other US carriers. In January, Delta further restricted its support and service animal policy, and in February, United followed suit. If you’re going to travel with an emotional support animal, check out this guide for how to best do it.

Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card

WELCOME OFFER: 80,000 Points


CARD HIGHLIGHTS: 3X points on dining and 2x points on travel, points transferrable to over a dozen travel partners

*Bonus value is an estimated value calculated by TPG and not the card issuer. View our latest valuations here.

Apply Now
More Things to Know
  • Earn 80,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $1,000 when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®.
  • Enjoy benefits such as a $50 annual Ultimate Rewards Hotel Credit, 5x on travel purchased through Chase Ultimate Rewards®, 3x on dining and 2x on all other travel purchases, plus more.
  • Get 25% more value when you redeem for airfare, hotels, car rentals and cruises through Chase Ultimate Rewards®. For example, 80,000 points are worth $1,000 toward travel.
  • With Pay Yourself Back℠, your points are worth 25% more during the current offer when you redeem them for statement credits against existing purchases in select, rotating categories
  • Count on Trip Cancellation/Interruption Insurance, Auto Rental Collision Damage Waiver, Lost Luggage Insurance and more.
Regular APR
16.24% - 23.24% Variable
Annual Fee
Balance Transfer Fee
Either $5 or 5% of the amount of each transfer, whichever is greater.
Recommended Credit

Editorial Disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airlines or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

Disclaimer: The responses below are not provided or commissioned by the bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser’s responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.