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Southwest Airlines ESA Pet Policy

People suffering from emotional or mental disabilities like anxiety, depression, bipolar disorder, or PTSD may feel difficulty when traveling on flights. Thankfully, emotional support animals could be with you in-cabin to help you during these overwhelming times. Though this is not valid when traveling on international flights.

Southwest Airlines is one of the most popular airlines in the country, and all you require is an ESA letter to fly with a dog without paying any extra fees. Though flying with an emotional support dog in Southwest Airlines comes with specific rules and regulations. Take notice of these policies of Southwest airlines and experience flying with a dog in-cabin without any hassles.

Flying-With-a-Dog-on-Southwest-Airlines
Flying with your Emotional Support Dog

Rules & Regulations When Flying With a Dog on Southwest Airlines

If you are looking to travel with your ESA on Southwest Airlines, you need to abide by their rules and regulations. Let’s take a look at them.

  • The guest should carry all the required documents.
  • Only one ESA is allowed per guest.
  • An emotional support animal must be either a cat or a dog.
  • The emotional support animal must be either on the leash or in a carrier that can be stowed under the seat.
  • The emotional support animal should behave appropriately at the airport and onboard the aircraft.
  • The guest traveling with an ESA will not be allowed to sit in an emergency exit seat.
  • The emotional support animal should not occupy an aircraft seat or a tray table.
  • The ESA must not extend into the aircraft aisle or beyond the footprint of the customer’s seat.
  • For a detailed list of instructions, you can refer to the Southwest Airlines website.

Southwest Airlines ESA Policy: Documents You Need to Carry

To travel by Southwest Airlines with your emotional support animal, the most crucial document that you need is an emotional support animal letter. Also, it is preferred that you carry other documents along like your ESA’s health records, health forms, etc. that you may require to present at the place of your arrival. Traveling with emotional support, animals on flights is a benefit that comes with an ESA letter. But it involves some policies and regulations drafted by American Airlines.

This includes the behavioral part of your emotional support animal. Though the emotional support animal is not required to be trained, basic training is preferred. Your emotional support animal should be at its best behavior when at the airport or on the flight. It should not cause any disturbance or harm to any fellow passenger. The ESAs are allowed to sit on your lap or under the seat restricted to the footprint of the seat. So, make sure you adhere to these regulations, and you can fly with your dog on Southwest Airlines hassle and stress-free.

Southwest Airlines ESA Policy
Flying with your Emotional Support Dog

When at the airport, you must check-in at the ticket counter with your emotional support animal and all the required documents. Once they are verified, you will be given an updated boarding pass. When booking your flight, Southwest Airlines encourages travelers to notify them about the emotional support animal in advance. So, if you are seeking to travel with an emotional support animal, you may use the “Special Assistance” link on the passenger and payment info page when booking your flight. After selecting the option, click on continue and complete the process. If you’ve already reserved the seat, click on the “Flight | Hotel | Car” link situated on the homepage of Southwest Airlines. Then, from the “Flight” column, select “Manage Reservations” and enter the required information. Once done, select “Continue.” Then use the “Special Assistance” link on the page and after choosing the option, click on “Continue,” and the information will be saved.

Also, before booking your flight with Southwest airlines, there are some requirements that you need to ensure.

  • Your emotional or mental disability must follow the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders – Fourth Edition (DSM-IV).
  • The ESA letter should be signed by a certified mental health professional. The letter should be on his letterhead and contain the license number of the professional.
  • The date of the issue of the letter should be less than a year.
  • This is valid only for domestic flights as the laws and regulations regarding ESAs are country-specific.