Alaska Airlines to No Longer Accept Emotional Support Animals Aboard Its Airplanes

As a result of the final rule which was issued by the Department of Transportation of the United States — which amends the Air Carrier Access Act regulation pertaining to the transportation of service animals via airplane — emotional support animals will no longer be accepted by Alaska Airlines to become effective as of Monday, January 11, 2021.

Alaska Airlines to No Longer Accept Emotional Support Animals Aboard Its Airplanes

Alaska Airlines

Photograph ©2014 by Brian Cohen.

Only official service dogs will be permitted for transportation aboard airplanes on flights operated by Alaska Airlines as of Monday, January 11, 2021, as bona fide service dogs are specially trained to perform tasks for the benefit of a qualified individual with a disability.

Furthermore, Alaska Airlines will accept a maximum of two service dogs per passenger in the cabin, which includes psychiatric service dogs. Customers will be required to complete an official form from the Department of Transportation — which will be available at the official Internet web site of Alaska Airlines beginning Monday, January 11, 2021 — attesting that his or her animal is a legitimate service dog; is trained and vaccinated; and will behave appropriately for the duration of the journey.

For reservations which are booked:

  • Greater than 48 hours prior to travel, customers must submit the completed form via e-mail message.
  • Fewer than 48 hours prior to travel, customers must submit the completed form in person to the Customer Service Agent upon arrival at the airport.
dog pet Jakie

Photograph ©2016 by Brian Cohen.

“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,” Ray Prentice — who is the current director of customer advocacy at Alaska Airlines — was quoted in this official press release from the airline. “Earlier this month the DOT said it will no longer require airlines to make the same accommodations for emotional support animals as is required for trained service dogs. Changes to the DOT rules came after feedback from the airline industry and disability community regarding numerous instances of emotional support animal misbehavior which caused injuries, health hazards and damage to aircraft cabins.”

Alaska Airlines will continue to accept emotional support animals under its current policy for reservations booked prior to Monday, January 11, 2021, for flights on or before Sunday, February 28, 2021. No emotional support animals will be accepted for travel after Sunday, February 28, 2021.

Summary

black dog matthew

Photograph ©2013 by Brian Cohen.

Do not be surprised if other airlines soon adopt a similar policy to the one announced by Alaska Airlines pertaining to the banning of emotional support animals aboard its airplanes.

Meanwhile, I have written extensively over the years pertaining to service dogs and emotional support animals in the form of articles posted here at The Gate — including:

All photographs ©2014, ©2016, and ©2019 by Brian Cohen.

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