Starting next month, Seattle-based Alaska Airlines will no longer allow accept emotional support animals on its flights.
Some passengers have said animals like squirrels or peacocks provide emotional support, but beginning Jan. 11, 2021, the airline will only transport service dogs that are trained to do tasks for a qualified person with a disability.
The change comes after the U.S. Department of Transportation said earlier this month it would no longer require airlines to make the same allowances for emotional support animals as are required for trained service dogs.
You can read the final rule here.
The airline said the DOT rules changed after repeated incidents of emotional support animals causing disturbances that led to injuries, health hazards, and damage to the airplane cabins.
Airline officials had more than 3,000 complaints in 2018 about animals biting passengers, defecating or urinating during a flight or fighting with other pets, The Wall Street Journal reported.
Alaska said it would accept no more than two service dogs per person in the passenger cabin, including psychiatric service dogs.
Passengers will be required to fill out a DOT form in which they must attest that their animal is a legitimate service dog, is trained and vaccinated and will behave during the flight.
The form will be available on the Alaska Airlines website on Jan. 11.
Alaska said emotional support animals would continue to be accepted under its current policy for reservations booked before Jan. 11, 2021, for flights on or before Feb. 28, 2021.
By KIRO 7 News Staff