Southwest Airlines to Place Restrictions on Emotional Support Animals

10:15 August 16, 2018
By: Ian Cogswell

Bad news for exotic support animal owners. 

New Southwest regulations limit one emotional support animal per person and ban all animals other than cats, dogs, and miniature horses. The animals must also be on a leash or in a carrier at all times, and the owner must bring a current letter from a doctor or licensed mental health professional that grants them permission.  

The new rules kick in on September 17.

Southwest isn’t the only airline cracking down. After a woman was refused boarding on a United flight with a support peacock in January, rules have been tightening up everywhere. They join United, JetBlue, American, and Delta in the new trend of denying exotic animals passage on their planes. 

Delta reported an 84 percent hike in incidents involving animals since 2016, including a man attacked by a 50-pound dog on a flight from Atlanta to San Diego in 2017. 

Royal Caribbean is another transportation company that is taking action. They will soon enforce a ban against all support animals on their cruise ships, referencing the Americans with Disabilities Act. The act says emotional support animals aren’t covered and aren’t necessarily allowed to accompany their owners in all areas where members of the public are allowed to go. 

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