Southwest limits emotional support animals to cats, dogs

Scruggs is a service dog, named after Jan Scruggs, a Vietnam vet and the man who founded the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Fund, which was responsible for getting the Vietnam Veterans Wall built in Washington D.C. Photo: William Selby/

Aug. 15 (UPI) — Southwest Airlines announced Tuesday it will only allow dogs and cats on flights as emotional support animals, and they must be accompanied by a doctor’s note.

The airline said each passenger can only bring one emotional support animal on board, and the animal must be in a carrier or on a leash at all times.

Southwest also said it will only accept dogs, cats or miniature horses as trained service animals on board flights.

“For the health and safety of our customers and employees, unusual or exotic animals will not be accepted,” the airline said.

“We welcome emotional support and trained service animals that provide needed assistance to our customers,” said Steve Goldberg, senior vice president of Operations and Hospitality. “However, we want to make sure our guidelines are clear and easy to understand while providing customers and employees a comfortable and safe experience.”

The new policy announcement appears to be an attempt to curb disagreements between passengers and various airlines over what animals can and cannot be brought in the cabins of passenger planes. In January, a woman purchased a ticket for her emotional support peacock even though United Airlines said it repeatedly told her it wouldn’t allow the bird in the cabin.

United and Delta Air Lines each announced tighter restrictions on emotional support animals earlier this year.


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