Skip to main content

Southwest Airlines Community

DOT Says Only Emotonal Supoort DOGS Will Be Allowed

Top Contributor




"The days of passengers bringing rabbits, turtles and birds on planes as emotional-support animals could be ending.


The U.S. Transportation Department on Wednesday announced plans to tighten rules around service animals, the biggest change being that only dogs could qualify.




Southwest Airlines handles more than 190,000 emotional support animals per year. American Airlines carried 155,790 emotional support animals in 2017, up 48% from 2016, while the number of checked pets dropped 17%. United Airlines carried 76,000 comfort animals in 2017.


Department officials said in a briefing with reporters that they are proposing the changes to ensure safety on flights. They also said some passengers have abused the current rules.




Airlines could require that service animals be on a leash or harness and fit in its handler's foot space. They could limit passengers to two service animals each, although it is unclear how often that happens under the current rules."






Re: DOT Says Only Emotonal Supoort DOGS Will Be Allowed

Top Contributor

I was just about to post a link to the Department of Transportation's site where they describe the proposed changes and found that you beat me to it. Here's the link to the official proposal and info on how to submit comments. Keep in mind this is currently just a proposal, nothing changing yet.



Re: DOT Says Only Emotonal Supoort DOGS Will Be Allowed

Active Member

Will Southwest stand with people with mental disabilities or corporate profits? We know where Delta and United stand. SWA is for the people. 

Re: DOT Says Only Emotonal Supoort DOGS Will Be Allowed

Top Contributor

The headline on this thread is a bit incorrect, so just for clarity:


The DOT proposal would allow airlines to ban all emotional support animals if they choose. 


It would require that airlines allow on board only trained service animals, to be defined as dogs that have received individualized training to do work or perform tasks for a person with a disability. For example, a seeing eye dog who accompanies blind passenger.


Trained psychiatric service animals would be included, however emotional support animals would not.


Obviously, this proposed change is controversial.


I tend to support the change, having seen a proliferation of pets traveling on board posing as emotional support animals. While I do realize and respect that some passengers require an emotional support animal, I'm hopeful that consideration will be made in the classification of trained psychiatric service animal to accommodate those with legitimate needs and appropriate documentation.


I encourage everyone with concerns to address them to the DOT. Members of the public have 60 days to comment on the proposed rules.