Monday, April 23, 2018

Alaska Airlines pony up: Updated emotional animal policy bans snakes, but permits miniature horses

FAIRBANKS — Alaska Airlines has updated its policy on emotional support animals. To no surprise, snakes, spiders and animals with horns are not allowed on the commercial passenger airline. However, the policy clarifies that miniature horses are, in fact, permissible. 

Beginning May 1, all emotional support animals will receive their own boarding passes with tips and tricks for making their flight a success. 

According to the airlines, the policy has been updated to prohibit hedgehogs, ferrets, insects, rodents, snakes, spiders, amphibians, goats and animals with tusks, horns or hooves. 

“There is an exception for trained miniature horses,” Tim Thompson, spokesman for Alaska Airlines, told Alaska Public Media.

According to officials, the airlines has had problems with emotional support animals getting lose on the plane and sometimes even biting passengers or flight attendants. 

“We are making these changes now based on a number of recent incidents where the inappropriate behavior of emotional support animals has impacted and even injured our employees, other guests and service animals,” Ray Prentice, Alaska Airlines’ director of customer advocacy, said.

In addition to updating the list of approved animals, the airlines has also clarified that passengers traveling with emotional support animals must provide the airline with animal health and behavioral documents; a signed affidavit affirming that the animal is trained and that the passenger is responsible for all liability for any injuries or damage to property; and a letter from a medical doctor or mental health professional, at least 48 hours before the flight. 

This policy change comes on the heels of a recent discovery that the number of emotional support animals traveling on airlines has increased dramatically in recent years. 

Every day, about 150 emotional support and psychiatric service animals travel on Alaska Airlines.  

According to a news release, the policy change does not apply to Alaska’s policy for traditional service animals.

Original article can be found here ➤

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