Southwest Limits Emotional Support Animals to Only Dogs and Cats
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.
Southwest Airlines announced new changes to its emotional support animal policy on Tuesday.
The low-cost carrier is limiting emotional support animals to only cats and dogs, and they must remain on a leash or in a carrier at all times. Customers will also be limited to one emotional support animal each.
The new changes will take effect on September 17 and can now be found on Southwest’s disability policy page on its website.
Any passenger traveling with a cat or dog as an emotional support animal will still be required to “present a complete, current letter from a medical doctor or licensed mental health professional on the day of departure,” a statement from the airline said. The airline will also only accept dogs, cats and miniature horses as trained service animals, a policy which it says follows guidance from the US Department of Transportation.
“For the health and safety of our Customers and Employees, unusual or exotic animals will not be accepted” as trained service animals, Southwest’s statement said. Passengers on other US carriers have tried to pass off everything from peacocks to ducks as emotional support animals.
Additionally, the Dallas-based airline is formalizing its acceptance of psychiatric support animals. “Southwest informally accepted PSAs as trained service animals in the past and the airline is pleased to formalize the acceptance of this type of service animal based upon Customer feedback,” the statement said. Psychiatric support animals are trained to perform a task or work for a person with a mental health-related disability.
The new policy from Southwest follows many airlines instating similar changes — Delta, American, United, JetBlue and Alaska have all similarly tightened their rules for emotional support animals this year.
The airline does note that any animal that “engages in disruptive behavior” can be denied boarding. Southwest grappled with this issue earlier this year when an emotional support dog bit a young girl on board a flight in February.
Featured image by mauinow1/Getty Images.
Welcome to The Points Guy!
Earn 90,000 bonus miles after you spend $3,000 in purchases within the first three months of card membership. Plus, earn a $200 statement credit after your first Delta purchase within the first three months. Offer ends 7/28/21.
With Status Boost™, earn 10,000 Medallion Qualification Miles (MQMs) after you spend $25,000 in purchases on your Card in a calendar year, up to two times per year getting you closer to Medallion Status. Earn 3X Miles on Delta purchases and purchases made directly with hotels, 2X Miles at restaurants and at U.S. supermarkets and earn 1X Mile on all other eligible purchases. Terms Apply.
- Limited Time Offer: Earn 90,000 Bonus Miles after spending $3,000 in purchases on your new Card in your first 3 months and a $200 statement credit after you make a Delta purchase with your new Card within your first 3 months. Offer expires 7/28/2021.
- Limited Time Offer: Plus, get a 0% intro APR on purchases for 12 months from the date of account opening, then a variable 15.74%-24.74%. Offer expires 7/28/2021.
- Accelerate your path to Medallion Status, with Status Boost®. Plus, in 2021 you can earn even more bonus Medallion® Qualification Miles (MQMs) to help you reach Medallion Status.
- Earn 3X Miles on Delta purchases and purchases made directly with hotels.
- Earn 2X Miles at restaurants worldwide, including takeout and delivery and at U.S. supermarkets.
- Receive a Domestic Main Cabin round-trip companion certificate each year upon renewal of your Card. *Payment of the government imposed taxes and fees of no more than $75 for roundtrip domestic flights (for itineraries with up to four flight segments) is required. Baggage charges and other restrictions apply. See terms and conditions for details.
- Enjoy your first checked bag free on Delta flights.
- Fee Credit for Global Entry or TSA Pre✓®.
- Enjoy an exclusive rate of $39 per person per visit to enter the Delta Sky Club® for you and up to two guests when traveling on a Delta flight.
- No Foreign Transaction Fees.
- $250 Annual Fee.
- Terms Apply.
- See Rates & Fees