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Blimpie
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Southwest latest airline to restrict service, emotional support animals

Tue Aug 14, 2018 11:12 pm

Mods: I did a search and didn't see anything results on this, so feel free to lock, delete, merge or whatever if this is a duplicate thread.

Southwest Airlines has become the latest big airline to tighten its policies on service and emotional support animals.

The carrier said its “update” would take effect Sept. 17 and would “provide clearer guidelines” to customers hoping to bring such animals onto its flights.

Southwest's policies cover three types of service or support animals: emotional support animals (ESAs); trained service animals; and psychiatric support animals (PSAs).

Emotional support animals

Restrictions in Southwest’s soon-to-be-implemented policy state emotional support animals (ESAs) will be:

Limited to only dogs and cats
Limited to one per customer
Required to “remain in a carrier or be on a leash at all times”

Even when the rule changes begin on Sept. 17, Southwest says passengers traveling with emotional support animals must still present “a complete, current letter from a medical doctor or licensed mental health professional on the day of departure.”

Trained service animals

For service animals, Southwest says it will accept "only the most common service animals -- dogs, cats, and miniature horses."

"For the health and safety of our customers and Employees, unusual or exotic animals will not be accepted," the airline added in its statement.

Psychiatric support animals

In what it described as an "enhancement," Southwest said it would more to recognize fully-trained psychiatric support animals (PSAs) as trained service animals. Previously, the airline had "informally accepted PSAs as trained service animals."

Southwest notes that 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," though Southwest adds "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."

With the changes, Southwest said it hoped to add clarity to its rules for flying with service and support animals.

“We welcome emotional support and trained service animals that provide needed assistance to our customers,” Steve Goldberg, Southwest’s Senior Vice President of Operations and Hospitality, said in a statement announcing the changes. “However, we want to make sure our guidelines are clear and easy to understand while providing customers and employees a comfortable and safe experience.”

Southwest said it crafted its updated animal policies after reviewing “the recent enforcement guidance issued by the Department of Transportation (DOT)” and evaluating feedback from both customers and employees. The company said it also consulted “with numerous advocacy groups that represent customers with disabilities who travel with service animals.”

With the change, Southwest joins several other U.S. carriers – including American, Delta and United – in trying to tighten rules on flying with ESAs amid rising concerns that some have been abusing the right to bring the animals onto planes.

American was the latest, updating its emotional support animal rules in May. That change followed a Delta update in January and United Airlines in February.

Airlines decided to revise their own rules after a Transportation Department panel was unable to reach a compromise in 2016. Emotional-support animals fell under a looser definition than trained service animals, such as for the blind or deaf, while still traveling for free in the cabin rather than being shipped in cargo.

Delta said its changes came as the airline carried about 250,000 animals last year that were increasingly misbehaving by wandering the cabin, defecating or even biting passengers. A comfort dog bit a passenger in the face while a flight boarded last June.

Delta Air Lines will be tightening requirements for passengers traveling with onboard service and emotional support animals, following an increased number of animal-related safety issues on flights over the last several years. USA TODAY

United's change came after a woman tried to bring a peacock with her on a flight. But United began reviewing its policy in 2017 after noticing a jump in comfort animals on flights to 76,000 from 43,000 the year before, and “a significant increase in onboard incidents."


Source: https://www.usatoday.com/story/travel/flights/todayinthesky/2018/08/14/southwest-airlines-rule-update-flying-support-animals/986458002/

Posted w/o comment.
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Tugger
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Re: Southwest latest airline to restrict service, emotional support animals

Tue Aug 14, 2018 11:53 pm

Thank goodness most airlines are now working to get emotional support animals under control. It truly got out of hand and was ridiculous.

Tugg
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AtomicGarden
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Re: Southwest latest airline to restrict service, emotional support animals

Wed Aug 15, 2018 12:29 am

Blimpie wrote:
credible verbal assurance will be sufficient to travel with a PSA


Sounds it's gonna be easier to go with one of those, doesn't even require a doctors certificate? or am i missing something?
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smokeybandit
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Re: Southwest latest airline to restrict service, emotional support animals

Wed Aug 15, 2018 12:56 am

Sure, they'll just start forging letters to bring their support lemurs with them
 
Indy
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Re: Southwest latest airline to restrict service, emotional support animals

Wed Aug 15, 2018 1:15 am

"A credible verbal assurance will be sufficient to travel with a PSA"

They did great until that ridiculous line. Um... surrreeeeeeeee Whiskers is trained *meow* See... he just said the coast is clear. Cross my heart and hope to die. *sigh*. Really WN? Why not require proof? If the animal has really been trained then the owner should be able to provide proof.
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Midwest2K
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Re: Southwest latest airline to restrict service, emotional support animals

Wed Aug 15, 2018 2:24 am

Tugger wrote:
Thank goodness most airlines are now working to get emotional support animals under control. It truly got out of hand and was ridiculous.

Tugg


I agree. When I was a kid many years ago and knew many people that were afraid of flying or had other issues, I never saw “emotional support” Kamona Dragons or sloths on planes. It’s just getting ridiculous.
 
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Re: Southwest latest airline to restrict service, emotional support animals

Wed Aug 15, 2018 3:51 am

smokeybandit wrote:
Sure, they'll just start forging letters to bring their support lemurs with them

The linked article specifically notes that only dogs and cats will be accepted as emotional support animals under the new policy.
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sldispatcher
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Re: Southwest latest airline to restrict service, emotional support animals

Wed Aug 15, 2018 4:38 am

Well of course it says only dogs and cats for ESA's....it's the psychiatric support animals we are talking about is going to immediately get out of hand.
 
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spinkid
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Re: Southwest latest airline to restrict service, emotional support animals

Wed Aug 15, 2018 6:00 am

OA412 wrote:
smokeybandit wrote:
Sure, they'll just start forging letters to bring their support lemurs with them

The linked article specifically notes that only dogs and cats will be accepted as emotional support animals under the new policy.


There are 3 categories. I don't understand why they limit to cats and dogs in the 1st, extend it to miniature horses in the 2nd and then seem to go completely off the rails with the 3rd.

What did they say? Any verbal confirmation ???

"Tammy, call Southwest, tell em you're my therapist and I need to take Lana the Llama with me on my flight."
 
us330
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Re: Southwest latest airline to restrict service, emotional support animals

Wed Aug 15, 2018 11:35 am

One of the biggest differences from UA/DL/AA is that ESAs are limited to only one per customer.

My folks have been flying AA a lot over the past couple of weeks, and they've told me of several customers who have brought multiple animals on board. FAs are sick of this, and it's only a matter of time before one of these non-trained service animals causes issues during an evacuation.
 
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Re: Southwest latest airline to restrict service, emotional support animals

Wed Aug 15, 2018 12:05 pm

Excluding service dogs (seeing eye dogs, rescue dogs, police/fire), everything should be a pet and charge $100 (or whatever WN charges).

I fly with my pet. I won't fly an airline that won't fly my pet. DL charged me $250 round trip last time, I'm ok with that. It is a pet! That is what all these creatures are. I like the fact they made a profit off me as they'll want to do so again. The pet had to fly in a small container. Meh... As long as I can fly with my pet, I was happy as so were my kids.

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AbigailWT
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Re: Southwest latest airline to restrict service, emotional support animals

Wed Aug 15, 2018 12:20 pm

This is a byproduct of the sad and unfortunate fact that the vast majority of 'service animals' are simply pets with a pompous owner. Unfortunately the ADA (and equivalent legislation in Europe) restricts the airline's ability to sniff this scam out, so here we are.

Credit to Lightsaber..... A pet owner (like myself) who can remain objective with regards to the policy.
 
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tjwgrr
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Re: Southwest latest airline to restrict service, emotional support animals

Wed Aug 15, 2018 12:27 pm

Good. It's about time.

I was waiting for a SWA flight a year or so back. An older guy was nearby with his wife and "support dog." The guy was boasting to another couple of how their dog travels with them all the time, and that he used to have to pay to transport fido in a crate in the hold. He said proudly that he purchased a "support" vest for his dog, and now fido rides with them in the cabin for free....... what abuse.
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Re: Southwest latest airline to restrict service, emotional support animals

Wed Aug 15, 2018 12:46 pm

The concept of a support animal was a noble experiment that demonstrated good airline compassion and astute PR. People who were inherently afraid of flying and servicemen with post-traumatic stress could fly with Digger-the-dog providing emotional support when the aircraft hit moderate chop or when a "firm" landing registered on Caltech's seismic registers. But like most things these days, people always try to push the envelope. A Southwest Boeing 737 is a passenger aircraft, not Noah's Ark. Therefore I'll go out on a limb and say a pig, an ostrich or any feline large enough to consider a revenue passenger as a tasty meal is verboten aboard the aircraft.

Is that reasonable?
 
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MalcolmInTheMoM
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Re: Southwest latest airline to restrict service, emotional support animals

Wed Aug 15, 2018 1:18 pm

They should really require a special document for emotional support animals. Currently, the program is clearly being abused (which is actually an understatement) and 90% or more of the people flying with a support animal just want too avoid paying a fee. A rule created to help a challenged group of people should be for that group only. I just recently did a few trips out of SNA and on every flight but one there were people flying with dogs. Someone actually asked the dog owner whether it was allowed and he told her that it was an emotional support animal and for that reason it could fly for free.

Disney (or one of the other theme parks here in SoCal) had to roll back a policy a few years ago that gave families with autistic children the chance to use the fast lanes for free. They found that far too many people were claiming that their children had autism, which provoked a more stringent screening process for the disabled visitors program.

I hate to see people disregarding rules like these and it totally sucks to have so many dogs on a flight. Dog owners love their dogs but it wouldn't kill them to be away from these animals for the duration of a flight. What ever happened to being mindful of those around you? (rhetorical question just added for dramatic effect)
 
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Re: Southwest latest airline to restrict service, emotional support animals

Wed Aug 15, 2018 2:02 pm

highflier92660 wrote:
The concept of a support animal was a noble experiment that demonstrated good airline compassion and astute PR. People who were inherently afraid of flying and servicemen with post-traumatic stress could fly with Digger-the-dog providing emotional support when the aircraft hit moderate chop or when a "firm" landing registered on Caltech's seismic registers. But like most things these days, people always try to push the envelope. A Southwest Boeing 737 is a passenger aircraft, not Noah's Ark. Therefore I'll go out on a limb and say a pig, an ostrich or any feline large enough to consider a revenue passenger as a tasty meal is verboten aboard the aircraft.

Is that reasonable?


I'm not saying that there aren't legitimate emotional support animals out there. I've seen them, they have a vest, and they usually are accompanied by an individual where it's very obvious that they're needed. HOWEVER, hi, I'm not a serviceman and I have PTSD from a plane crash. I didn't need a dog to provide me emotional support when my flight hit light chop. A Xanax would have been fine, but didn't need a dog.
 
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Re: Southwest latest airline to restrict service, emotional support animals

Wed Aug 15, 2018 2:29 pm

There should be more specific Federal laws/rules as to any animals on airplanes including as to the Americans With Disabilities Act. Some abuse the ADA so to save money but also for the safety of their pet from the too many cases of animals that have died in cargo holds. We also have to acknowledge that with more crowded planes, tighter seat pitch, the risk of the animal interfering with an emergency, the risks of injury and discrimination lawsuits, a new balance must be made.
 
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Re: Southwest latest airline to restrict service, emotional support animals

Wed Aug 15, 2018 2:29 pm

G'day

I have been grounded for several years now since airlines refuse to take me along with my rhino. I am still trying to teach my emotional support rhino to bark so it can pass as a dog, no success though so far. I guess I will have to rely on surface transport for the time being.

Cheers

Peter
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Re: Southwest latest airline to restrict service, emotional support animals

Wed Aug 15, 2018 4:07 pm

Heavierthanair wrote:
G'day

I have been grounded for several years now since airlines refuse to take me along with my rhino. I am still trying to teach my emotional support rhino to bark so it can pass as a dog, no success though so far. I guess I will have to rely on surface transport for the time being.

Cheers

Peter


Good luck with the rhino. If and when airlines accept him, how will you get him thru security? He’s never going to fit through a body scanner or x-ray machine. You probably want to notify them in advance to have ladders or scaffolding ready along with enough crew for a pat down search. I look forward to seeing it.
 
tu204
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Re: Southwest latest airline to restrict service, emotional support animals

Wed Aug 15, 2018 7:25 pm

and minature horses

Sorry...what? :shock:
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jporterfi
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Re: Southwest latest airline to restrict service, emotional support animals

Wed Aug 15, 2018 7:39 pm

tu204 wrote:
and minature horses

Sorry...what? :shock:

The ADA states that covered entities "must modify their policies to permit miniature horses where reasonable". Good luck accommodating a miniature horse in the aisle of a 737! :lol:

Source: https://www.ada.gov/service_animals_2010.htm
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RobertPhoenix
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Re: Southwest latest airline to restrict service, emotional support animals

Wed Aug 15, 2018 9:14 pm

I'm very allergic to Cats, but I loved the peanuts. No justice for me :rotfl:
 
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Re: Southwest latest airline to restrict service, emotional support animals

Wed Aug 15, 2018 10:03 pm

lightsaber wrote:
Excluding service dogs (seeing eye dogs, rescue dogs, police/fire), everything should be a pet and charge $100

Lightsaber


Are used to think that too.

When I asked the guy in front of me at the hockey games why he brings his dog to a hockey game. His wife explained that he used to get angry all the time and in every situation. But with a dog sitting on his lap he’s become a calm and reasonable person. Having the dog with him at all times has changed his life she says

This was not their idea. It was the psychologist.

I’ve talked about this many times. It seems to have really made a real difference in the quality of that family’s life.
 
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lebda
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Re: Southwest latest airline to restrict service, emotional support animals

Wed Aug 15, 2018 10:16 pm

It's a sad day for emotional support turkeys everywhere.
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737tanker
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Re: Southwest latest airline to restrict service, emotional support animals

Thu Aug 16, 2018 10:55 am

jporterfi wrote:
tu204 wrote:
and minature horses

Sorry...what? :shock:

The ADA states that covered entities "must modify their policies to permit miniature horses where reasonable". Good luck accommodating a miniature horse in the aisle of a 737! :lol:

Source: https://www.ada.gov/service_animals_2010.htm

A few years back there was a miniature horse on a WN flight
 
battlegroup62
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Re: Southwest latest airline to restrict service, emotional support animals

Thu Aug 16, 2018 11:31 am

tjwgrr wrote:
Good. It's about time.

I was waiting for a SWA flight a year or so back. An older guy was nearby with his wife and "support dog." The guy was boasting to another couple of how their dog travels with them all the time, and that he used to have to pay to transport fido in a crate in the hold. He said proudly that he purchased a "support" vest for his dog, and now fido rides with them in the cabin for free....... what abuse.


Agreed. Similar story. I was reading on another forum about a person who couldn't bear the thought of leaving their pet rats at home while going off to college. They wanted to register them as ESA's just so they could bring them with and keep them in the dorm. I really wanted to say "its people like you that ruin it for those that need it"
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wiggy
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Re: Southwest latest airline to restrict service, emotional support animals

Thu Aug 16, 2018 11:37 am

yeah they going to have trouble getting the threw security
 
flapsdown40
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Re: Southwest latest airline to restrict service, emotional support animals

Thu Aug 16, 2018 11:42 am

"For service animals, Southwest says it will accept "only the most common service animals -- dogs, cats, and miniature horses."

A *miniature horse* in an airplane (737) cabin? Aren't they about the size of a Great Pyrenees dog? Has anyone on this forum actually been on an airline flight on which a pax brought their miniature horse with them? What's the largest dog you've seen in an airline cabin?

Where in the plane would the airline, in this case Southwest, seat a pax and their miniature horse?

I won't even ask what happens if the little horse needs to "do its business" in the middle of a flight.

TIA for any responses.
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flyingcat
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Re: Southwest latest airline to restrict service, emotional support animals

Thu Aug 16, 2018 2:14 pm

flapsdown40 wrote:
I won't even ask what happens if the little horse needs to "do its business" in the middle of a flight.

The employees of old school US Airways know the answer all too well. Mind you it was in First and back then seats were cloth!
 
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Blimpie
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Re: Southwest latest airline to restrict service, emotional support animals

Sun Aug 19, 2018 1:53 pm

I still want to know how small these miniature ponies are that they do not need to occupy the isle?
Now get the hell off of my lawn your dang kids!
 
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Seabear
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Re: Southwest latest airline to restrict service, emotional support animals

Sun Aug 19, 2018 10:06 pm

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