Southwest Airlines on Monday became the last major U.S. carrier to ban emotional support animals on its flights.
Effective March 1, Southwest will only accept trained service dogs for travel and will no longer recognize emotional support animals, the company announced.
Southwest defined service dogs as those “individually trained to do work or perform tasks for the benefit of a qualified individual with a disability to travel with the Customer.” Only dogs are accepted as trained service animals, the company said.
Customers can bring other dogs or cats as pets for a fee, but they must be stored under seats.
The changes come after the Department of Transportation issued a final rule limiting the definition of service dog to one “individually trained to do work or perform tasks for the benefit of a qualified individual with a disability, including a physical, sensory, psychiatric, intellectual, or other mental disability.”
The rule also states that “carriers are not required to recognize emotional support animals as service animals and may treat them as pets,” though “psychiatric service animals” will be treated as service animals.
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