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Southwest to ban emotional support animals beginning in March

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Posted at 5:02 PM, Jan 25, 2021

Southwest Airlines has joined American, Delta, Alaska, and United by banning emotional support animals.

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

The move comes after the Department of Transportation revised their Air Carrier Access Act on Dec. 2, which no longer classifies 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 in a press release. "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."

Under the new policy, travelers would need to present a complete and accurate DOT Service Animal Air Transportation Form at the gate or ticket counter the day they travel, Southwest said.

Southwest said they'll still allow some animals as part of the airline's existing pets program for a charge.

Alaska was the first major airline company in the United States to ban emotional support animals. American, Delta, and United shortly followed suit.