Southwest Airlines Restricts ESAs to Only Dogs and Cats

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southwest new emotional support animal policy restricts ESAs not dogs and catsAnnounced Tuesday, August 14th, Southwest Airlines placed a new restriction on their emotional support animal policy that inhibits exotic, non-cat/dog ESAs from traveling in the air.

That’s right. Beginning September 17th, you will no longer be allowed to bring aboard your emotional support snake, kangaroo, horse, or any other animal that is not a cat or dog. Southwest follows suit of Delta and United with tighter restrictions on ESAs but is now the first airline to ban all emotional support animals excluding dogs and cats from flying. 

What Does This Mean for All ESA Owners?

If you own a canine or feline best friend as your emotional support animal, nothing has changed.

You will still need a current ESA letter (less than one-year-old), but you are not required to bring any other documentation. As always from before, your emotional support animal must behave properly and can be escorted off the plane or not allowed on if the airline staff deems your ESA of acting inappropriately.

If you own another type of animal, you might want to look into other ways of traveling.

Summary of Southwest’s New ESA Policy:

  • Limited to only dogs and cats
  • Limited to one per Customer
  • Must remain in a carrier or be on a leash at all times

For service animals, Southwest will allow the more common animals: dogs, cats, and miniature horses. Any other outside that realm is also banned from flying.

Is This New Policy a Good or Bad One? Hear CertaPet’s Thoughts…

We approve!

Simple as that. CertaPet believes that every tighter restriction on ESA policies makes for a better understanding of why emotional support animals are crucial in the first place. Our goal is getting those truly in need connected to LMHPs so that they can fly feeling calm, peaceful, and most of all, safe.

Emotional support animals should not be a cheap escape to fly with your pet but an option for people who couldn’t fly another way.

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