This Saturday, April 1, 2017, a service dog named Orlando rests on the foot of his trainer John Reddan as he sits on a United Airlines plane at Newark Liberty International Airport in Newark, New Jersey during a training exercise: Julio Cortez ( AP)
Alaska Airlines announced Tuesday that passengers for reservations after Jan. 11 will no longer be allowed to take animals on their aircraft for emotional support. The airline is the first to ban animals for emotional support after the US Department of Transportation issued new instructions that animals should be allowed on passenger planes.
The new rules do not apply to dogs that are trained for certain tasks, e.g. B. Guide dogs for the visually impaired. However, the rules apply to monkeys, peacocks, and snakes with “emotional support” – all things that people have actually tried to bring airplanes the last few years.
“As of January 11, 2021, Alaska will only transport service dogs that have been specifically trained to perform duties for the benefit of a qualified individual with a disability,” said a published statement by Alaska Airlines on-line.
The Department of Transportation released new rules in early December, which were celebrated by some people who complained that unscrupulous people had used “emotional support” as an excuse to get their untrained and undisciplined pets on planes with no real need. However, disability rights groups warn that the new restrictions could prevent people with disabilities from gaining equal access to the country’s transport infrastructure.
“Once again, DOT has made an almost systemic decision to prioritize the aviation industry and corporate interests over the rights afforded to people with disabilities under the law,” said Curt Decker, executive director of the National Disability Rights Network, in one Explanation Earlier this month after the Department of Transportation issued its new guidelines.
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“Although it is no secret that we are still a long way from having a truly accessible transport system in this country, the DOT rule will only serve to exacerbate existing inequalities for people with disabilities who travel by air, and instead almost exclusively for them Airline industry interests to be considered, ”Decker continued.
Alaska Airlines announced that passengers will now have to fill out an online form swearing that their pet is a “legitimate service dog” and has been properly trained not to cause flight disruptions.
Guests must complete a DOT form, available on AlaskaAir.com starting January 11, confirming that their pet is a legitimate service dog, has been trained, vaccinated, and behaves appropriately while traveling. For reservations booked more than 48 hours before the start of your trip, you must send the completed form by email. For reservations made less than 48 hours prior to departure, guests must personally submit the form to Customer Service upon arrival at the airport.
There are still many questions about what kind of animals will be allowed on board for passengers with psychiatric illnesses, and Alaska Airlines has not been particularly specific in that regard. We asked Alaska Airlines for more clarity on the new rules and will update this post when we hear something.
Other US-based airlines have not announced any changes to their official service animal rules yet, but are expected to follow suit soon.
“This change in law is welcome news as it will help us reduce on-board disruption while accommodating our guests traveling with qualified service animals,” said Ray Prentice, director of customer representation for Alaska Airlines, in a statement.