As per the DOT regulations, till 2021, airlines were bound to treat Emotional Support Animals and Trained Service Animals equally. However, as the Emotional Support Animals were not trained enough and knew little to no public place behaviors, it led to numerous incidents of other travelers and staff getting paranoid over them. But in December, DOT announced their newest regulations regarding Emotional Support Animals.

Airlines are now not bound to accept Emotional Support Animals in their cabin. Soon after this announcement, 4 of the 5 major airlines of the United States announced that they would not be taking Emotional Support Animals in their cabins from now on. And at last, Southwest Airlines also made changes to its policy regarding Emotional Support Animals.

Southwest Airlines’ New Policy for Emotional Support Animals

On January 25, 2021, Southwest Airlines announced that they will not be accepting Emotional Support Animals in their cabins from March 1. Only Trained Service Animals can now travel for free on Southwest Airlines. Travelers with Emotional Support Animals who were using Southwest can now take their ESAs with them under the normal pet policy. A charge of 95 USD will be applicable per flight.

What to do if you have an Emotional Support Animal?

Travelers can no longer use Southwest Airlines for traveling with their Emotional Support Animal. You can now take your ESA with you under the normal pet policy or you can make the ESA a trained service animal (If you have any physical or mental disability) and continue flying with him/her. If you are thinking about the second option, then let’s have a look at the policy for Service Animals of Southwest Airlines.


Does Southwest Airlines accept ESA?

No, Southwest no longer accepts Emotional Support Animals in their cabins. They made this change in January 2021 reacting to the newest DOT regulations for Emotional Support Animals.

Does Southwest accept Service Dogs?

Southwest Airlines only accepts Trained Service dogs inside their cabins. The dogs should be properly trained and have all the necessary documents as per their rules.

How much does Southwest charge for normal pets?

Southwest charges a flat USD 95 for every dog or cat inside their cabins. They do not accept any other animals except dogs and cats.

Which major airlines now accept Emotional Support Animals?

The top 5 airline companies in the United States (American, Delta, United, Southwest, and Alaska) now do not accept Emotional Support Animals on their cabins. Emotional Support Animals now must fly as normal pets by paying applicable charges.

Contact Details

Call1 800 I FLY SWA (1 800 435 9792)
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