Alaska Airlines introduces new rules for emotional support animals

What is an Emotional Support Animal?

SEATTLE — Last week, Alaska Airlines announced it is making policy changes for passengers who fly with emotional support and psychiatric service animals.

On Wednesday, Alaska detailed which animals will no longer be allowed in planes' cabins.

The airline will stop allowing amphibians, goats and animals with hooves, tusks or horns. An exception will be made for trained miniature horses because they are recognized as service animals under the Americans with Disabilities Act.

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The restrictions begin May 1.

Also starting May 1, the airline will require passengers traveling with those type of animals to provide animal health and behavioral documents. The airline said a signed document from a medical doctor or mental health professional will also be needed.

All of the documents must be submitted at least 48 hours before flight departure, Alaska Airlines said.

Ray Prentice, Alaska Airlines’ director of customer advocacy said, "We are making these changes now based on a number of recent incidents where the inappropriate behavior of emotional support animals has impacted and even injured our employees, other guests and service animals."

The airline reported at least 150 emotional support and psychiatric service animals travel on its planes daily.

The airline said passengers can obtain the necessary documents on beginning April 30.

The policy changes do not apply to traditional service animals, Alaska Airlines said.

Learn more here.