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Alaska Airlines restricts emotional support animals in flight



If you are flying with Alaska Airlines starting in mid-January, don’t plan to board with support pigs or miniature horses.

The airline adopted new federal guidelines aimed at controlling exotic animals that are sometimes brought onto commercial aircraft as emotional support animals, thereby simplifying the permitted range announced on Tuesday: Only qualified service dogs may lie on the floor or be hugged. Something on the leg.

Ray Prentice, director of customer communications for Alaska Airlines, said this is the first major airline to publicly change its animal policy in accordance with the latest federal guidelines. The airline̵

7;s decision is a positive step.

Prentice said in a statement: “This regulatory change is welcome news because it will help us reduce disturbances on board while continuing to provide qualified service animals for our passengers.”

The airline said that from January 11, it will only allow trained service dogs to work or perform tasks for the disabled.

A December 2 ruling by the U.S. Department of Transportation amended the Department’s Air Carrier Access Act, granting airlines the right to classify emotional support animals as pets rather than service animals. According to the regulations, only dogs that meet specific training standards are allowed as service animals for persons with physical, sensory, mental illness, intellectual or other mental disabilities.

Proponents of the rights of persons with disabilities have criticized the new regulations, saying that these restrictions will weaken the protection of persons with disabilities by restricting the definition of service animals. According to the official guidelines issued by the Ministry of Transport in 2019, common service animals include dogs, cats and miniature horses.

“Although it is no secret that we are still far from the truly accessible transportation system in this country, the DOT rule will only exacerbate the inequality of participation by persons with disabilities in air travel, and it can almost only satisfy the interests of airlines. Executive Director Curt Decker said in a statement this month.

Despite the criticism, airlines and other organizations in the air travel industry, such as the lobbying group American Airlines, celebrated the recent changes, saying they will do more to reduce the bad behavior of animals in flight and help stop the abuse of related services. Rules of personal animals.

In the past, passengers have tried to travel with a variety of animals, from ordinary animals to downright unusual animals such as pigs, monkeys and birds. (A failed attempt even included a peacock.)

The Americans with Disabilities Act defines dogs and miniature horses as service animals. “They have been specially trained to work or perform tasks for the disabled.” According to the Act, dogs that only provide emotional support are not designated as service animals. animal.

Alaska Airlines’ revised policy will allow each passenger to carry a maximum of two service dogs, which will include psychiatric service dogs. Passengers must also submit a form developed by the Ministry of Transportation, which confirms that the dog is a service animal and has received proper training and vaccination.


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