Miniature Horses Among Animals Allowed on Southwest

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Monday, August 20, 2018
Southwest Airlines has announced changes to its policies for trained service and emotional support animals, which will take effect Sept. 17.
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"We welcome emotional support and trained service animals that provide needed assistance," said Steve Golberg, the Senior VP of Operations and Hospitality. "However, we want to make sure our guidelines are clear."

The press release announcing the policy changes said guidance from the Department of Transportation (DOT), feedback from customers and employees, and discussion with "numerous advocacy groups" informed their decisions. The changes are as follows:

Emotional Support Animals (ESAs)

ESAs will be limited to only dogs and cats
ESAs will be limited to one per Customer
ESAs must remain in a carrier or be on a leash at all times

Customers traveling with ESAs will still need to present a complete, current letter from a medical doctor or licensed mental health professional on the day of departure.

Trained Service Animals

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In alignment with recent DOT guidance, Southwest will accept only the most common service animals—dogs, cats, and miniature horses. Unusual or exotic animals will not be accepted.

As is the case today, the Customer with the disability must be able to provide credible verbal assurance that the animal is a trained service animal.

Formally Recognizing Psychiatric Support Animals (PSAs)

Southwest also will introduce an enhancement that recognizes fully-trained psychiatric support animals (PSAs) as trained service animals. Southwest informally accepted PSAs as trained service animals in the past and the airline is formalizing the acceptance of this type of service animal based upon customer feedback. PSAs are individually trained to perform a task or work for a person with a mental health-related disability. A credible verbal assurance will be sufficient to travel with a PSA.

All emotional support and service animals must be trained to behave in a public setting and must be under the control of the handler at all times. An animal that engages in disruptive behavior may be denied boarding.

“The ultimate goal with these changes is to ensure customers traveling with service animals know what to expect when choosing Southwest,” said Goldberg. “Southwest will continue working with advocacy groups, employees, customers, and the DOT to ensure we offer supportive service animal guidelines.”

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  1. Pedegru
     commented on .
    August 20, 2018 @ 9:26 PM Southwest, who never ceases to amaze with their innovative and unique brand of marketing, is now going to allow service animals on flights! What makes this especially cool is that you'll be able to catch a flight, have the stewardesses entertain you with Southwest Stand-Up, and visit a petting zoo all at the same time. Whaaat?!

    Now if they can just keep their engines on I think they may just have something going here. Aww, no I didn't ;-)

    If you have an interesting story we'd love for you to add/curate on Pedegru. We exist to get people and pets closer together...to help anyone who doesn't have a pet see how amazing they are and want to invite them into their homes.

    The more we have on Pedegru in the way of Pets, Stories, Family Portraits, In Memorials, Marketplace Listings, etc, the more we will demonstrate to others how wonderful it is to have a pet in their lives.

    Curate, curate, curate - and with baby steps there won't be a homeless pet left on the planet!
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