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Will Southwest still allow emotional support animals on flights?

brendabean
Active Member

The only reason I have been able to fly these past few years is due to my emotional support dog. She is trained, well-behaved, and allows me to fly without going into a full panic attack. Southwest has been the most compassionate airline when I have flown with my esa dog. I really hope that they will side with people with disabilities. 

9 REPLIES 9

Re: Will Southwest still allow emotional support animals on flights?

bec102896
Top Contributor

At this time i haven't seen any news from Southwest in regards to this new ruling. I'm sure southwest is reviewing the ruling and they will probably communicate any changes to the ESA policy online, though some kind of email, and probably though social media. 

Re: Will Southwest still allow emotional support animals on flights?

dfwskier
Top Contributor

Southwest can't do what the DOT says it an't do. DOT says no ESAs will be allowed after 12/31/20.

 

Sorry.

 

There is one exception. If your ESA fits in  a carry kennel that fits under the seat in front of you, then it would be allowed. You would have to pay the normal pet fee to do this.

Re: Will Southwest still allow emotional support animals on flights?

chgoflyer
Top Contributor

@dfwskier wrote:

Southwest can't do what the DOT says it an't do. DOT says no ESAs will be allowed after 12/31/20.

 

Sorry.

 

There is one exception. If your ESA fits in  a carry kennel that fits under the seat in front of you, then it would be allowed. You would have to pay the normal pet fee to do this.


 

Again, this is incorrect. Nothing about the new ruling bans ESAs. The ruling removes the government protections that required ESAs to be accepted. But it does not ban any carrier from allowing them, and/or crafting specific policies for them.

 

I suspect most carriers will eventually refuse to accept ESAs, but I doubt anything will change on 12/31/20. Only time will tell what policies each individual carrier may implement.

 

 

Re: Will Southwest still allow emotional support animals on flights?

NicoleAshley
Employee
Employee
Solution

@brendabean wrote:

The only reason I have been able to fly these past few years is due to my emotional support dog. She is trained, well-behaved, and allows me to fly without going into a full panic attack. Southwest has been the most compassionate airline when I have flown with my esa dog. I really hope that they will side with people with disabilities. 


Thanks for reaching out, @brendabean, at this time, there are no changes to Southwest’s current policy. Yesterday's announcement is in regard to the DOT allowing airlines to make changes to their policies in early January 2021. If any changes are made to Southwest’s policies, we will be sure to communicate details to our Customers. Our current policy can be found on Southwest.com

Nicole
Community Manager

Re: Will Southwest still allow emotional support animals on flights?

brendabean
Active Member

Thank you @NicoleAshley . I am planning to fly in March for my mom's 65th birthday? Can I count on Southwest to allow me to keep my plans and fly with my ESA dog at that time?

Re: Will Southwest still allow emotional support animals on flights?

SWFlyer007
Rising Star

@brendabean The answer to your question was in her answer!

 

"Thanks for reaching out, @brendabean, at this time, there are no changes to Southwest’s current policy. Yesterday's announcement is in regard to the DOT allowing airlines to make changes to their policies in early January 2021. If any changes are made to Southwest’s policies, we will be sure to communicate details to our Customers."

 

Nicole isn't promising anything, and can't predict what those that control the decision on this issue will do.   She is just stating for RIGHT NOW, nothing has changed.  Since you're talking over 3 months from now when you travel, yes, it could change, but you should be prepared for that scenario NOW, to be able to make a seamless adjustment. 

Re: Will Southwest still allow emotional support animals on flights?

ahn_504
New Arrival

I booked a flight for December 26, 2020 with accommodations for my ESA with a returning flight on January 2, 2020. Will my returning flight be affected by the DOT’s new policy regarding ESAs? Will I have to make new arrangements? 

Re: Will Southwest still allow emotional support animals on flights?

dfwskier
Top Contributor
Solution

@ahn_504 wrote:

I booked a flight for December 26, 2020 with accommodations for my ESA with a returning flight on January 2, 2020. Will my returning flight be affected by the DOT’s new policy regarding ESAs? Will I have to make new arrangements? 


 

Airlines have not announced what they will do in response to the DOT announcement

 

You will be able to answer your question when they do..

 

 

Re: Will Southwest still allow emotional support animals on flights?

dben
New Arrival

I'll add one more voice asking Southwest not to change their policy in response to the new FAA rule. Mental and emotional disabilities are real, and ESAs make a huge difference for many people. My wife included. There has to be a way to screen out the bad actors without punishing people who needs the emotional support of a dog to be able to travel, but whose dog doesn't perform a "task" as a service animal does.