Emotional Support Animals No Longer Welcome on Alaska Airlines

If you’ve got an emotional support animal, “certified” or not, you won’t be able to fly with them on Alaska Airlines moving forward.

On December 2, 2020, The United States Department of Transportation put out new rules for what constitutes a service animal onboard aircraft.

The Meat and Potatoes

The two main takeaways of the ruling are as follows:

  • Define a service animal as a dog that is individually trained to do work or perform tasks for the benefit of a person with a disability;
  • The DOT no longer considers an emotional support animal to be a service animal
Emotional Support Animals

Definitely heading back to coach…

We’ve seen a lot of “service animals” on our flights, including dogs which were obviously not trained or ready for serve in any capacity. They were obvious and blatant attempts to avoid having to pay a cabin pet fee. In the picture above, the dachshund had a collar that said “search and rescue animal.” Sure…

On one of our flights overseas, we saw a woman with round a 100 lb dog, taking up an entire four seat bulkhead, sleeping with her dog on the floor, and flight attendants were almost bit by said dog. Obviously, these kinds of abuses have to stop.

The flight attendants were scared and didn’t know how to handle such a situation.

Emotional Support Animals

Dog on a Plane

Emotional Support Animal

Dog on a Plane

I’m Happy to see this Change

I’m all for verified service animals in the cabin. These animals provide a necessary and unique task, that they are trained for months and sometimes even years to perform their tasks. 

Service Animal vests can be had on Amazon for as little as $11. Hell, you can even buy fake badges claiming that you’re protected and no one can ask you questions or deny you rights. People taking advantage of these, claiming disabilities when people with actual disabilities need these service animals, are a disgrace.

This is obviously a fraud, and I for one am glad to see that Alaska Airlines is stepping up to the plate to stop people from taking advantage of loopholes.

The Details

Alaska’s website lays out the exact details here, but the the specific terms are as follows:

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.

Author: Jon Nickel-D'Andrea

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6 Comments

  1. “flight attendants were almost bit by said dog”

    did you see that w/your own eyes cuz Labrador retrievers do not bite people-even if provoked!

    Post a Reply
    • Yup – front row view! Every dog can get a little out of control

      Post a Reply
    • “B” as in B, “S” as in S in your Lab comment

      Post a Reply
  2. Very interesting read. Thanks for keeping your audience informed.

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  3. At Last, this should stop untrained and frightened animals being transported in the cabin, just to save a few bucks!
    The The United States Department of Transportation will need to register and audit ALL companies who certify these Service Animals. This should ensure the animals meet and maintain the correct standards. Will this stop fake certificates from the internet? Only time will tell!

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  4. I too have had the pleasure of sitting in a row (bulkhead) with 2 passengers and their over-sized emotional dog, which looked like a Great Dane to me! This was back in the day where flights from ATL to LAX went out full so my wonderful flight attendant couldn’t relocate me. What I did receive was an apologetic facial gesture and excellent customer service. I see Delta, American, and United have updated their policies’ too. This is long-overdue and as my travels pick up, one less flight variable to cringe over. 2021 travel starting on a very good note! Happy Tavel Jon

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