Southwest Airlines revises policies for emotional support, trained service animals

Southwest Airlines announced the carrier is making changes regarding emotional support and trained service animals to be consistent with new regulations from the U.S. Department of Transportation.

Beginning March 1, the airline will accept only trained service dogs for travel and will no longer transport emotional support animals.

Southwest says it will only allow service dogs that are individually trained to do work or perform tasks for a disabled passenger.

“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.

As part of this change, customers will have to present a DOT service animal air transportation form at the gate or ticket counter on the day they travel.

Additionally, Southwest will no longer accept emotional support animals for travel effective on March 1. A customer wanting to bring a pet onboard will have to pay to transport the animal. This only includes dogs and cats.