Alaska Airlines becomes first major US airline to announce emotional support animal ban

Alaska Airlines will soon ban emotional support animals from flights, becoming the first major U.S. airline to do so after the Department of Transportation revised its regulations earlier this month about what constitutes a service animal. 

Beginning Jan. 11, Alaska will only allow service dogs, which it defined in a press release as dogs that are ” specially trained to perform tasks for the benefit of a qualified individual with a disability,” including psychiatric service dogs, the airline said Tuesday in a news release.

Passengers with emotional support animals with reservations booked prior to Jan. 11 will still be allowed to fly, but no exceptions will be made after Feb. 28. 

The DOT announced Dec. 2 its revised Air Carrier Access Act would no longer classify emotional support animals as service animals, which are allowed to fly with passengers on commercial airlines under federal law. 

Advocacy group Airlines for America, which represents major U.S. airlines, previously expressed support for the DOT’s revisions, though Alaska is the first major U.S. airline to formally announce it will enact them. 

Alaska’s new policy allows up to two service dogs per guest, and those guests will be required to fill out a DOT form – available on the airline’s website beginning Jan. 11 – to confirm that the service dog is “trained and vaccinated and will behave appropriately during the journey.” 

No more emotional support animals: New DOT rule paves the way for airlines to ban non-service dogs on flights

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