Does Alaska Airlines Still Allow Emotional Support Animals?
No, Alaska Airlines is not one of the emotional support animal airlines.
Alaska Airlines emotional support animal flying is no longer an option due to a new rule by the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) that allows airlines to choose whether or not to allow emotional support animals (ESAs) on their planes. Most airlines have decided to permit them no longer the way they did before 2021.
Although they still recognize service animals and psychiatric service dogs, emotional support animals are now required to board like regular pets and are limited to the specifications and restrictions set forth for pets.
These restrictions include being able to fit under the seat and remaining in their carrier for the flight. Owners of ESAs are required to pay any associated pet fees, and an ESA letter from a mental health professional is no longer recognized as documentation that would allow an animal onto a plane.
Is Alaska Airlines Banning Emotional Support Animals?
Yes, Alaska Airlines has chosen to ban emotional support animals. Due to the regulatory change in the Air Carrier Access Act (ACAA) by the DOT form, ESAs are no longer recognized as qualified service animals and, therefore, must be boarded as pets.
The decision was made after an American Airlines flight attendant was bitten on the hand by an ESA, and as a result, ESAs are now recognized as pets by Alaska Airlines. Pets are required to fit within a strict set of requirements that service animals are not, and as such, ESAs are now required to fit within the pet requirements.
What is the Alaska Airlines Pet Travel Policy?
Here are the Alaska Airlines emotional support animal traveling policies.
Pets in the Alaska Airlines Plane Cabin. Any pet owner boarding the passenger cabin with a pet must be at least 18 years old and may not occupy an emergency exit row or bulkhead row. Pet carriers count as carry-ons, so a passenger may either bring a carrier or a personal item, and each passenger is allowed up to two pets only when the seat next to them is open.
The pet must fit comfortably inside the carrier, and the carrier must fit under the seat. The pet is also to remain in the carrier for the flight duration. The carrier must be leakproof, well ventilated, and large enough to comfortably accommodate the animal for the duration of the flight.
Pet owners are responsible for the animal’s behavior, and animals are not sedated as the effects of tranquilizers at high altitudes can be unpredictable.
Pets in the Alaska Airlines Plane Cargo. To fly in the cargo compartment, a pet must have a valid health certificate, dogs and cats must be at least eight weeks old and weaned, no more than one dog or cat may travel in one kennel, and no more than one puppy eight weeks to 6 months old and weighing over 20 lbs may be in the same kennel. No more than two live puppies or kittens eight weeks to 6 months of age may be in the same kennel.
Animals must be offered food and water within four hours of check-in and have enough to last for the length of the journey, customers with a connection of four or more hours must request access to their animal in the connection city to offer additional food and water, and during check-in, you will be asked to complete a pet check record to certify your pet has been offered food and water. Alaska Airlines does not transfer pets to other airlines.
How do I Fly With my Pet on Alaska Airlines?
These are the steps to take for Alaska Airlines emotional support animal and pet flying:
- Ensure your Pet’s Gear Meets the Specifications. Alaska Airlines has specifications for pet carriers, harnesses or leashes, and food bowls, if applicable, as well as animal ID cards and certificates of health or rabies vaccination records.
If the animal is too large or is a restricted breed not allowed in the cabin but is allowed in cargo, you will need to ensure the gear you have for your pet is suitable for cargo flight.
- Make Reservations for your Pet. This is recommended to be done at least 48 hours in advance to allow time to process the paperwork required for pets to board a plane with Alaska Airlines.
If reservations are not made within 48 hours, it is required for you to bring hard copies of the appropriate paperwork so they can process it at the airport. This is also a great time to ensure your flight is booked appropriately.
Choosing the most direct flight will significantly reduce the stress your pet will endure during air travel, and if there is a layover or airline change, it will be necessary to make reservations on every airline you will be using during your travels.
- Arrive Early. If your pet is flying cargo, most airlines will require you to arrive three hours early, and you will likely need to take your pet to a different cargo drop-off site at the airport.
This is also where you will pick up your pet. If your pet is small enough to be a carry-on, you will go to the check-in desk to provide the agent with the appropriate paperwork and pay the pet fee.
- Go through Security. At this point, you will remove your shoes, bag, etc. and remove your pet from its cage and carry it through the x-ray.
- Pick up your Pet Immediately. Once you have arrived at your destination, grab your checked baggage and go straight to the specified cargo location to pick up your pet. It will be stressed out, and seeing you will help it recover from a traumatic experience like flying.
What Pets are Allowed on an Alaska Airlines Flight?
Alaska Airlines only allows dogs, cats, rabbits, and household birds in the cabin, but the pet carrier will count as a carry-on bag. In the cargo hold, they allow cats, dogs, ferrets, guinea pigs, hamsters, household birds, non-poisonous reptiles, pot-bellied pigs, rabbits, and tropical fish.
How do I Travel With a Service Animal on Alaska Airlines?
This is done much the same way as flying with a pet, however, different paperwork is required. According to their service animal policy on alaskaair.com, the animal must have a reservation, and the reservation is recommended to be made five days in advance.
A maximum of two service dogs are allowed per handler, and each animal must have a Service Animal Travel Solutions (SATS) ID number, and each animal must be up to date with their vaccinations.
Passengers with service dogs are not to sit in emergency exit seats, and you should choose a window seat to avoid the animal interfering with foot traffic during air travel. It is also recommended you print a hard copy of the DOT Service Animal Transportation Form and the email approval for travel from SATS in case of technical difficulties.
Once at the airport, you will be asked to verify that you are traveling with a service animal, that the service animal will fit in the floor space of your seat, and they will briefly assess the animal’s behavior.
On board, the plane, service animals must be seated on the floor space below your seat or on your lap. They are to behave appropriately and are not to occupy empty seats. They must also remain out of the aisle to avoid obstructing the walking path.
How do I Submit Service Animal Documents to Alaska Airlines?
To request a SATS Service Animal ID, you will need the veterinarian’s name and contact number, rabies vaccination date and expiration, and the trainer’s name or organization and contact number. From here, you can request travel with your service animal, and this step is to be done each time you make a reservation.
If your reservations were made more than 48 hours in advance, you could submit these forms through a link on alaskaair.com, and if you have made reservations less than 48 hours in advance, you will need to bring hard copies with you to the airport.
What are Alaska Airlines’ In-Flight Requirements for a Service Animal?
Service dogs are the only service animals Alaska Airlines allows.
They must remain at the handler’s feet or under their seat for the duration of the flight. They are not to be seated in an empty seat or on tray tables and are only permitted to sit in the handler’s lap if they are smaller than a two-year-old child.
The dog must be well behaved, well-groomed, and free from offensive odors. Excessive barking is prohibited, as is jumping, eating off tray tables, relieving themselves in the aircraft cabin, and aggressive behaviors.
How Much is Flying With a Pet on Alaska Airlines?
Here are the Alaska Airlines emotional support animal and pet fees:
- Alaska Airlines Fees for Pets Flying in Cabin: $100 per one-way flight
- Alaska Airlines Fees for Pets Flying in Cargo: $100 per one-way flight
- Alaska Airlines Fees for Flying with Service Dogs: There is no fee for service dogs.