Southwest Airlines to begin new pet policy on Sept. 17

Hillsborough County

Southwest Airlines is rolling out a new policy when it comes to emotional support animals.

The changes are designed to make the policies easier for customers to understand and will go into effect on Sept.17 the airline said.

“We welcome emotional support and trained service animals that provide needed assistance to our customers,” said Steve Goldberg, Senior Vice President of Operations and Hospitality. “However, we want to make sure our guidelines are clear and easy to understand while providing customers and employees a comfortable and safe experience.”

Southwest officials spoke to advocacy groups that represent customers with disabilities in order to make the new guidelines.

Emotional Support Animals (ESAs):

  • ESAs will be limited to only dogs and cats
  • ESAs will be limited to one per customer
  • ESAs must remain in a carrier or be on a leash at all times

Customers traveling with ESAs will still need to present a complete, current letter from a medical doctor or licensed mental health professional on the day of departure.

Trained Service Animals:

In alignment with recent DOT guidance, Southwest will accept only the most common service animals like dogs, cats, and miniature horses. For the health and safety of our customers and employees, unusual or exotic animals will not be accepted.

“Well, airports are not the best place for exotic animals and I feel more comfortable without having snakes and birds and all kinds of stuff [on a plane],” said passenger Rodney Cummings.

United Airlines stopped a passenger from bringing a peacock on a flight in early 2018.  The passenger claimed the peacock was an emotional support animal.

Other U.S. carriers have recently enacted similar policies.

Copyright 2020 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

Top Videos

Hillsborough deputies arrest 2 men in computer scheme that targeted victims across US

Thumbnail for the video titled "Hillsborough deputies arrest 2 men in computer scheme that targeted victims across US"

Medical marijuana dispensaries broken into in Clearwater, one at 4:20 a.m.

Thumbnail for the video titled "Medical marijuana dispensaries broken into in Clearwater, one at 4:20 a.m."

Security footage shows medical marijuana dispensary break-in

Thumbnail for the video titled "Security footage shows medical marijuana dispensary break-in"

Coronavirus Concerns: University of Tampa cancels study abroad trip to China

Thumbnail for the video titled "Coronavirus Concerns: University of Tampa cancels study abroad trip to China"

How to be prepared for when an earthquake hits

Thumbnail for the video titled "How to be prepared for when an earthquake hits"

Ashley Moody on Trooper Bullock's death

Thumbnail for the video titled "Ashley Moody on Trooper Bullock's death"

Weather for Friday, Feb. 22 night and into Saturday, Feb. 22

Thumbnail for the video titled "Weather for Friday, Feb. 22 night and into Saturday, Feb. 22"

Phillies arrive in Clearwater for Spring Training

Thumbnail for the video titled "Phillies arrive in Clearwater for Spring Training"

Father shot and killed

Thumbnail for the video titled "Father shot and killed"

Deadlocked jury leads to mistrial in Tampa Bay ice cream man double-murder case

Thumbnail for the video titled "Deadlocked jury leads to mistrial in Tampa Bay ice cream man double-murder case"

American Freedom Distilliery

Thumbnail for the video titled "American Freedom Distilliery"
More Local News

Trending Stories

get the app

News App

Weather App

Don't Miss

More Don't Miss