Southwest Airlines Cracks Down On Emotional Support Animals

Emotional support animals had a tough day on Tuesday, with Southwest Airlines’ announcement of tighter rules and reports that Royal Caribbean is banning them from cruise ships.

Southwest is limiting passengers to one emotional support animal per person, the Los Angeles Times reported. The only emotional support animals that will be permitted on flights are dogs and cats. When it comes to trained service animals ― defined by the airline as an animal “individually trained to perform a task(s) or work for a person with a physical and/or mental disability” ― Southwest will allow service dogs, cats and miniature horses.

“We want to make sure our guidelines are clear and easy to understand while providing customers and employees a comfortable and safe experience,” the Times quoted Steve Goldberg, the airline’s senior vice president of operations and hospitality, as saying.

Southwest joins a number of other airlines that have tightened restrictions on emotional support animals. The spotlight fell on travelers with emotional support animals in January, when United Airlines refused to allow a woman to board a flight with an emotional support peacock.

Also on Tuesday, Royal Caribbean reportedly said it will ban all emotional support animals from cruises. The cruise line said emotional support animals are not covered by the Americans With Disabilities Act, according to CBS Miami.

Passengers who booked a reservation before July 30 and noted an accompanying emotional support animal will be allowed to travel with the animal.

CORRECTION: A previous version of this story indicated Southwest would allow mini horses as emotional support animals. In fact, they are allowed as trained service animals, along with cats and dogs. Only cats and dogs are allowed as emotional support animals.

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