Southwest Airlines is latest to ban emotional-support animals

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Emotional-support animals are no longer free to roam about the cabin on Southwest Airlines either. The airline said Monday that it will let passengers bring trained service dogs in the cabin, but it will no longer accept support animals, starting March 1.

Customers who want to bring a dog or cat on board as a pet will have to pay a fee, and the animal must be kept in a carrier that fits under an airplane seat.

The move follows a Transportation Department decision to reverse a yearslong regulation and let airlines ban animals that owners claim provide emotional support. Airlines said some passengers abused the old rules to avoid pet fees.

Southwest is the last of the nation’s six largest airlines to change its animal policy after the Transportation Department action.

Airlines for years have struggled to contend with travelers who brought a menagerie of animals on board, including cats, turtles, pigs and other creatures.

High-profile incidents involving animals on flights include police being called to remove a woman with an emotional support squirrel from a 2018 Frontier Airlines flight and United Airlines bouncing a passenger who wanted to bring a peacock on board.

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