29 December 2020; Seattle, Washington, USA
Following new DOT rules, Alaska updates its policy on service animals onboard
Following recent changes to U.S. Department of Transportation’s (DOT) rules, Alaska Airlines will no longer accept emotional support animals on its flights. Effective Jan. 11, 2021, Alaska will only transport service dogs, which are specially trained to perform tasks for the benefit of a qualified individual with a disability.
Earlier this month the DOT said it will no longer require airlines to make the same accommodations for emotional support animals as is required for trained service dogs. Changes to the DOT rules came after feedback from the airline industry and disability community regarding numerous instances of emotional support animal misbehavior which caused injuries, health hazards and damage to aircraft cabins.
“This regulatory change is welcome news, as it will help us reduce disturbances onboard, while continuing to accommodate our guests traveling with qualified service animals,” said Ray Prentice, director of customer advocacy at Alaska Airlines.
Under the revised policy, Alaska will accept a maximum of two service dogs per guest in the cabin, to include psychiatric service dogs. Guests will be required to complete a DOT form, which will be available on AlaskaAir.com beginning Jan. 11, attesting that their animal is a legitimate service dog, is trained and vaccinated and will behave appropriately during the journey. For reservations booked more than 48 hours prior to travel, guests must submit the completed form via email. For reservations booked less than 48 hours prior to travel, guests must submit the form in person to the Customer Service Agent upon arrival at the airport.
Alaska will continue to accept emotional support animals under its current policy for reservations booked prior to Jan. 11, 2021, for flights on or before Feb. 28, 2021. No emotional support animals will be accepted for travel after Feb, 28, 2021.
Source: Alaska Airlines