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Southwest Airlines Introduces New Pet Policy, Other Changes

gkelly1
Not applicable

 I don’t think you will be surprised to hear me say that we are in the midst of one of the most challenging times in aviation history.  In fact, it’s my opinion that this decade has been the most difficult in our industry’s 100-year history, and this year is arguably the most difficult we’ve seen this decade.  While Southwest Airlines is prepared for these tough times, we are certainly not immune to the effects of a deep recession in this economic environment.  The good news is that the 35,000-plus Employees of Southwest Airlines (the most talented in the world, by the way), are up to the challenge, and we’re facing these turbulent times head-on. 

 Today, we are announcing one new program and a few other changes that are designed to enhance the service we provide our Customers, and at the same time, create opportunities for incremental revenue growth.  These new programs and processes are just the starting point with additional initiatives planned for later this year.  As many of you know, we are very proud of the fact that at Southwest Airlines, we don’t surprise our Customers with fees--unlike our competitors.  We remain committed to maintaining our famous low fare brand.  We truly believe in setting the right Customer expectation and not charging for those amenities that a Customer would “expect” to get for free.  That being said, it is our fiscal responsibility to our Employees, our Customers, and our Shareholders to maximize our existing and potential revenue opportunities.       

 We are very pleased to welcome pets onboard our aircraft for the very first time as part of a new program called P.A.W.S. (Pets Are Welcome on Southwest).  We will begin allowing our Customers to bring along a limited number of small cats and dogs in the aircraft cabin for a low pet fare of $75 each way.  Our Employees and our Customers have told us for years that this is something that they want from Southwest, and our enhanced boarding allows us to offer this new service without impacting the efficiency of our operation.  Customers can begin purchasing tickets for their pets on June 1, 2009, for travel beginning June 17, 2009.

 Additionally, we will soon implement a $25 service charge each way for Customers who travel on Southwest Airlines as an Unaccompanied Minor (UM -- Customers from the age of five through 11 traveling without an adult), in addition to the fare paid for the child or a Rapid Rewards Award ticket.  Internally, this has been a topic of conversation and debate for years at Southwest Airlines.  Up to this point, we’ve been fortunate enough to offer this added service without a charge—even though we carry increasing numbers of Unaccompanied Minors each year—but we simply cannot afford to continue down this same path.  There is a substantive cost associated with the extra care needed to safely transport unaccompanied children, including Employee time and administrative work, and these costs can not be ignored any longer, not in today’s economic environment. The Unaccompanied Minor service charge will apply to tickets purchased June 1, 2009, and later, for travel beginning June 17, 2009.  Unaccompanied Minors currently represent less than one percent of our Customers. 

Lastly, we are increasing the charge to check a third bag and heavy bags onboard our aircraft.  Don’t worry, you can still check two pieces of luggage for free on Southwest Airlines-- that has not changed--but beginning June 17, Southwest will increase the amount currently charged to check overweight bags weighing 51 to 70 pounds and excess luggage from $25 per bag to $50 per bag.  All other checked baggage policies and charges remain the same.  Our baggage policy is still far and away the most generous in the industry, and this change will impact approximately one percent of our Customers.  As an example, a family of four (including two small children over the age of two) may check two sets of golf clubs, two strollers, two car seats, and four pieces of luggage (under 50 pounds each) all for free on Southwest Airlines.  In addition to the incremental revenue this change will generate, we also anticipate seeing a reduction in the total number of checked bags we handle, allowing us to transport everyone’s luggage more efficiently. 

We are proud to introduce the new P.A.W.S. service.  We believe this new service, and the changes to our existing policies, will generate incremental revenue for the airline; how much revenue is yet to be determined, but we anticipate a modest annual benefit in the tens of millions of dollars.  We will continue to actively pursue additional revenue generating initiatives in both the near-term and long-term, while keeping a keen eye on our low fare brand and costs; all with the best interest of our Employees and our Customers in mind. 

Again, we are well-prepared and poised to survive these rough economic times and emerge an even better airline.  It’s not going to be easy, but I could not have hand-picked a more courageous and capable group of People than the Employees of Southwest Airlines to see us through.   
 

 

 

 


 

273 Comments
Rebecca8
Not applicable
I'm very disappointed that there is no mention in your guidelines about measures that will be taken to accommodate passengers with severe pet allergies. I can already see a spike in on board medical emergencies due to someone's severe allergic reaction to cats in the cabin. Medical emergency landings are costly. I know this seems like a great idea for increasing revenue and pleasing the pet owner population but has this been thoroughly thought through?
Shauna_Collins
Not applicable
PAWS is great news!
David_Meyer
Not applicable
These certainly sound like fair changes, and I for one won't complain. You have the best service and best fairs in the industry, and I think one should expect to pay for things like taking the family dog on the plane or checking a third bag. Unaccompanied minors...I'd expect to pay more for that as well, BUT...I'd like to suggest that the flight attendants (who don't get paid until the door closes) get that money as they do all of the work. Thanks for operating a first-rate airline. David Meyer Tampa, FL
David32
Not applicable
Okay, Southwest, so you now value shedding animals as having a higher customer constituency value than actual paying passengers who may very well be allergic to said animals? Do you realize that some people cannot be in proximity to pet hair? Have you lost your minds?
Edie1
Not applicable
Hurray for PAWS!!! I recently got a cute little yorkie for my daughter and now thanks to this policy we can continue to fly on Southwest (our preferred airline).
Randy1
Not applicable
Yeah I welcome P.A.W.S. and I think the new charge for UM is justified being it does tie up employees. SWA is still the #1 airline in the sky. I wouldnt dream of stepping foot on another airline.
Stephanie_Knigh
Not applicable
The pet policy concerns me. What are passengers with severe allergies to cats and dogs supposed to do? The air on a plane is already compromised by other germs and bacteria, now this? I hope you plan to carry OTC allergy meds and epi-pens on your flights now also for the people who physically can't tolerate the pet dander and such. I can see this being very chaotic for the flight staff...
V_G_1
Not applicable
We are so excited to hear that our favorite airline in FINALLY allowing us to travel with our pet. It has been a disaster having to look for an alternate airline that allows pets. Thank you Southwest for making this change. Smiley Happy
Anonymous4336
Not applicable
I'm sorry to see you allow pets. I have often recommended your airline to those with allergies because I knew that there wouldn't be pets aboard. As I'm sure you know, many people (including one lady involved in the evacuation recently in Houston) have been "sneaking" pets on for years and your employees have often turned a blind eye. That being the case, it is long past due for you to charge passengers a fee, I guess, although I would have preferred you had enforced your policy better -- for the safety and comfort of HUMAN passengers who suffer from allergies. You will find that those paying a fee to carry a pet on board will insist that this fee allows, or should allow, them to remove the pet from the carrier and have it sit on their lap, at their feet, in an empty adjacent seat, on a tray table, etc., making the pet dander and allergens even more difficult to control. You will also find people showing up for a flight with a snake, bird, ferret, etc., arguing that their pet should be treated no differently than a dog or cat. All of this is VERY difficult to enforce. Your own employees will prove to be very inconsistent in this regard. You will find, eventually, that pets whose owners have taken them out of carriers (because flight attendants don't notice, don't care, don't want to confront them, or don't see the animal because it is hidden under a blanket or coat) leave behind fleas and ticks on your airplane. They urinate, defecate and vomit (often from motion sickness, just like humans) on the aircraft and necessitate biohazard cleanup. It's expensive. They nip and bite other passengers, who might have -- in addition to allergies -- fears of animals, or just a distaste for them. They run out of their owners' laps and get caught under the wheels of beverage carts. They hit the ceiling during turbulence. They yelp and whine throughout the flight. My advice -- if you insist on allowing this -- is to police this very carefully. INSIST, AT LEAST, THAT THE ANIMALS REMAIN IN THEIR CARRIERS THROUGHOUT THE FLIGHT AND MAKE THIS POLICY CLEAR ON YOUR WEBSITE.
Anonymous4194
Not applicable
southwest has enough animals on it's flights already.
Marketing_Speak
Not applicable
This stinks. Literally. If I want to be in a closed confined space with stinking cat urine and yapping dogs, I'll go visit some nut who keeps their animals inside the house. I love SWA and it's always been my first choice, but I'll get screwed with fees from the other airlines before I get onboard a filthy pet hair infested tube of yours if this idiotic policy sticks.
Hollie
Not applicable
I, for one, am glad to see Southwest implement the P.A.W.S. program. I would insist, though, that pets are kept in their carriers during the flight, and this policy enforced. Speaking as someone who also has allergies, this program can go both ways. I'll be sure to take my allergy meds before the flight. I can also see you charging extra for unaccompanied minors. They do take extra time for the employees to care for them and make sure they get to their destination safely. I'll continue to fly Southwest and recommend your airline to my friends and family.
Martin3
Not applicable
This comment was posted on another blog by a veteran FA ... it says it all. I hope Southwest has better luck in keeping pets inside those carriers. One bite, or a mess in the cabin or parasite infestation, and those pet fees don't add up to enough to offset the cleaning and litigation costs. I agree with the FA ... this a penny wise ... pound foolish move.
Susan_Iskiwitch
Not applicable
Can you tell us what measures will be implemented for travelers with animal allergies? Warnings of where animals are on board? Epinephrin availability? I understand that pets are integral parts of some families, but it'd be great to know what checks are in place for those who can't be around them.
Scooby_Doo
Not applicable
Thank goodness. We love Southwest and have had to switch airlines entirely once we got our adorable little puppy dog, Scooby, as we take him everywhere. He is so much fun and this now makes us able to fly on Southwest again. Hoorayyy. and yes, we will gladly pay $75 to take him with us as this is much cheaper than boarding him during our trips. Thank you.
Anonymous4336
Not applicable
Here are just some of the reasons you have to pay a fee: Too many people take their pet out of the carrier, despite the fact that they are told not to. They ignore instructions to replace the pet in the carrier. They hide the pet under a tray table or blanket or coat or let it sit directly on an adjacent seat. They encourage the pet to urinate/defecate ON THE FLOOR OF THE PLANE. Or they take the pet to the lav, let it out of the carrier, and allow it to go in there, a small enclosed room, so that the next HUMAN passenger to use it gets a good dose of animal dander in their nasal passages. This includes pregnant women who shouldn't even be near cat droppings. This means more dander in the air. More people get allergic reactions. Often these are kids whose parents had no idea their kid would react this way until they were in an enclosed metal tube at 30,000 feet with recirculated air and who-knows-how-many-pets on the plane. They're not prepared with an Epi-Pen or Benadryl. The plane has to divert. Others are inconvenienced ... those on the plane, and those waiting on the plane to take them somewhere. Then the people who got sick sue. The people who were delayed SUE. Would YOU want to miss your HUMAN child's graduation, or your parent's funeral, because of something like THIS? OR... The pet is taken out and put on a lap and it BITES someone, NIPS someone...first aid has to be given, or there's a diversion. Again, people are inconvenienced. The airline has to give them meals, rooms, vouchers, whatever, to make them happy. Some of them still sue. Sometimes it just FRIGHTENS someone. Sometimes that someone is YOUR BABY. (Your HUMAN baby.) These babies are what the pet owners like to compare their animals to. They will tell your staff: "That lady over there has HER baby on HER lap, and SHE didn't have to pay a fee for HER baby. Why can't I have MY baby on MY lap? After all, I had to PAY." (People act as if it's a surprise that pets behave better than kids. They're supposed to. They're PETS.) OR... The pet is taken out and it gets sick, or suffers from motion sickness (same as humans) and there's a mess in the cabin. This is a biohazard (same as humans) and it's an expensive cleanup, which also causes a delay, which means meals, rooms, vouchers. Some people sue. OR... The pet is taken out and leaves fleas and ticks on the plane. This can happen even if the pet ISN'T removed from the carrier. Again, an expensive cleanup, and a delay. OR... There's turbulence, and Fluffy, on her owner's lap, hits the ceiling. Do you know what vets charge? Then the owner sues the airline "because the crewmembers were SUPPOSED to tell me to put the pet in the carrier. They were SUPPOSED to make me do it. It's THEIR fault my puppy got hurt/killed." One reason to charge a fee is that it gives the airline an idea of how many pets are on board. If there's no fee, there's really no way to know. I've noticed at TSA checkpoints there is often a sign saying that a passenger must show a receipt for their pet fee before screening a pet. The pet fees don't even begin to cover this stuff. Then people say, "I paid a fee, I can take Fluffy out and put her on my lap IF I WANT TO."
Anonymous4336
Not applicable
People will say, to those who are allergic, "Fly some other airline." Problem is, SOUTHWEST WAS THAT OTHER AIRLINE. It seems ridiculous that we really have come to a place where animals are more important than people.
Anonymous1227
Not applicable
SWA is always changing and lately those changes are not good ones. People travel on SWA because there are no pets allowed. At least put the pets in the belly. You have no idea how many people are allergic to animals. They send their children on SWA because they do not have to pay minor fees for it. So are they going to get special attention now. It would have made more sense to stop peanuts service for those who are allergiec. It now takes a long time for the phone to be answered because the new ticketing system does not work properly. Why don't you make sure your systems work before you go live with them. Where Is Herb
Anonymous4336
Not applicable
Given how poorly you enforced the "no pets" policy (the number of people posting to various travel blogs, claiming to take pets in carriers aboard your flights, and the example of the lady in Houston who stayed behind in an evacuation to rescue her dog!) how well can we expect you to enforce the "must stay in carrier" policy? I'm very disappointed that I won't be able to recommend you, and neither will the many allergy doctors!
blusk
Not applicable
Thanks to everyone for their support and for sharing their concerns. To answer some of the points raised so far. Our web site clearly states that pets must remain in their carriers at all times http://www.southwest.com/travel_center/animals.html. As for the alergy issue, we have carried service and emotional assistance animals onboard our flights for years and years. We will work to separate Customers with allergies and those with pets onboard the aircraft. Also we would hate to lose anyones patronage over the pet issue, but keep in mind that Southwest was one of the last airlines to ban pets from the cabin. AirTran, Alaska/Horizon, American, Continental, Delta/Northwest, jetBlue, United, and US Airways all allow pets in the cabin,, and some of them like Continental and Alaska allow household birds and rabbits onboad in addition to cats and dogs.
Anonymous250
Not applicable
Morons. Not only will you lose (permanently) customers who have severe pet allergies, you will also lose the millions who have milder allergies and would prefer not be cooped up with somebody else's dog and suffer itchy eyes and a runny nose as a result. I count myself in this latter group. Even if pets are required to stay in carriers, allergens will pervade the cabin, and once you have one pet on a plane that plane is forever tainted - it is impossible to adequately remove the allergens from the plane even with thorough cleaning. I'm predicting Southwest retracts this idiotic policy in quick order when the complaints start flooding in. Hopefully they do it before a dog actually gets on a plane, otherwise I'm out for good.
Anonymous4336
Not applicable
Does your website make it clear that there is a limit on the SIZE of the dog you can bring on board? Remember, you have to market to the lowest common denominator...there are probably people posting on this site you have an image of their labrador in the seat next to them with a seatbelt around him! Also, does your website make CLEAR that there is a LIMIT to the number of pets allowed? Or is there no limit? And yes, people with allergies have flown with seeing-eye dogs. I'd suffer -- for a seeing-eye dog. But for someone's Yorkie?
Cindy_Wood
Not applicable
While I am a pet lover, I am not a lover of your new pet policy. When I am on a flight I like to relax and this is already often difficult when there are children crying, my neighbor behind me using my seat like it's a sling shot when they need to get up, etc. Now there is the potential to listen to a cat meowing or a dog barking for an entire flight. This does not sound like fun. Maybe SWA should start offering free adult beverages when noisy pets are on the flight!!! I do agree that for those that have pet allergies this could be a big issue. I know this is a great policy for those that want to travel with their pets, but you really need to consider these types of situations when making these policy decisions. Thank you, Cindy
Anonymous830
Not applicable
My family does not fly Southwest due to allergies. Our son has a peanut allergy. I realize that you will not serve peanuts on a flight (if requested). However, peanut dust is still in the air. I am not willing to risk my child's life to test your theory that he won't have an allergic reaction. The past reason for not flying Southwest as a family is due to one person. Our Future Reason will be the animal policy, we are all sensitive to animals. I can't imagine being trapped on a plane with small animals for allergies alone. I am not even addressing the fact of how annoying little yappie dogs can be. I hope that you notify passengers with already booked flights of this new policy. People with health issues need to notified in advance. I hope your flight attendants are well-trained in allergic responses as well. I realize you are trying to generate some much needed revenue. However, you need to look at the big picture. You will lose clients because of allergies and annoyances of yappie dogs. You are not going to gain any overall numbers for clients. Get the peanuts off the plane as well as animals!
Kristin_Steed
Not applicable
So excited about PAWS! I wanted to bring my yorkie along on my trip this past Memorial weekend, but wasn't able to bring him on the flight so we had to drive. This is great! Thanks Southwest!
Anonymous1013
Not applicable
Stock holder & favorite airline, BUT, allowing onboard pets is NOT GOOD. Sitting over a SMELLY, noisy dog or cat for hours, is not my way to travel. Change name of airline to Noah's Arch Airline.
Anonymous4258
Not applicable
This policy is very inconsiderate. I will no longer be able to book flights on Southwest for my father who is allergic to cats and dogs. It's pity because Southwest was my favorite airline.
Kim11
New Arrival
Not happy about pets in the cabin. My family has been loyal to Southwest for about 9 yrs now and I will book another airline rather than fly with pets in the cabin.
Cody_in_AMA
Not applicable
Ok for Stephanie, David, Rebecca, Preston , and all the Anonymous, I believe I have the same rights as you do. Do I complain when your child throws up all over the floor and the rest of the fight stinks to high heaven. The pets will be required to stay in their pet carrier, and the crate will have to be leak proof ( if you read all the regulations you will know this) they will also seat passengers that have allergies as far way from the pet as possible. And I'm not sure how the pet hair is going to get all over other passengers when the pet must remain in the crate, and parasite infestation give me a break!!! Come on people there will be some rules and regulations "we" (me being a pet owner) will have to follow. Lets not forget American, Delta, Continental, United, US Airways and many others all allow pets in their cabin. So if you think avoiding Southwest will get you away from the Pets think again!!!! I knew the minute Southwest announced this new policy the people that HATE change will be screaming like a crazy person. Tell ya what.....if you keep your child under control and I mean keep them from kicking my seat, screaming, crying, throwing up, whining. I will keep my little westie in her crate under my seat. Deal?
Chicago
New Arrival
I'm disappointed in this pet policy. I like a lot of things about the way Southwest operates, but will have no problem finding other transportation if faced with a choice between that and wheezing throughout a four-hour flight.
warrio3634
Not applicable
I commend these changes. With the baggage fee, it helps protect the employees of Southwest from lifting overweight bags at the ticket counter and in the belly of the aircraft. It happens too frequently when an employee throws their back out trying to load an overweight bag in the bin. The UM fee is still cheaper than most other unaccompanied minor fees on other airlines. I can assure you though that no airline does a better job at handling UM's than we do. The PAWS program is also a good idea. I read that people are worried about this program. First off, the pet has to be small enough to fit under the seat and they can't roam the cabin. Secondly, the air in the aircraft is constantly filtered so allergies shouldn't be a problem. If we can offer a service that people are willing to pay for without disrupting the majority of the flying public, I'm all for it. Good Job Gary!
Anonymous3173
Not applicable
I've been a loyal Southwest traveler out of the San Jose Airport. Estimating that I've spent over $30K with the airline in the last 10 years. I have allergies to pets and cannot be in the same proximity to dog and cat dander - it stays forever in the duct system in airplanes. So, see ya Southwest! Hello American Airlines.
Griffin_Mill
Not applicable
Southwest has made tremendous strides lately and has therefore been very successful in attracting more business travelers who provide more revenue for the airline. Tell me, how many business travelers bring the family pet? I cannot imagine that you have lost that much business because you refused to allow pets and, as mentioned above, it would be the leisure traveler and not the coveted business passenger.
SusanaLoca
Not applicable
I also am allergic - especially to CATS! And IF the animals are enclosed in a special space inside their carriers and not let out - well I guess its ok. But I have a problem with people taking pets out and having pet hair in the airplane. Will they be stowed in a special area of the pressurized storage space? I hope so!
Anonymous4383
Not applicable
I for one am very excited that I will be able to take my dog with me on trips. I don't mind the fee it is alot cheaper then putting them in a kennel for a week. SWA has allowed service and emotional support animals on all their flights for years So if you have not had an issue before then I doubt you will have one now. The service and support animals were not in carriers but kept in their lap or at the passengers feet. SWA is a great airline with a fun loving feel to them. I think the implementation of the new fees are fair and just for the services they are providing. Long live SWA!!!!!
Rebecca8
Not applicable
Brian Lusk, I think your response to our allergic reaction concerns that simply consists of "service and emotional assistance animals onboard our flights for years and years" is woefully inadequate and possibly represents that Southwest has not thoroughly processed this new policy change. It is true that service and emotional assistance animals have been allowed on your flights for years and years. However, there is a significant difference in the small number of service and emotional assistance animals and the "wide open" approach that will soon be enforced. It was rarely noticed by passengers when service animals and emotional assistance animals were on the plane and passengers had to offer proof that these animals were in fact needed by them (not just pay $75). How seriously does Southwest Airlines view safety? That is the real question that needs to be addressed. This is a serious health safety issue and it is more of an issue because of the size of Southwest Airlines and the number of passengers you carry each day. Some people go into anaphylactic shock from being around cats and yet there is not even a mentioning of this in the new guidelines? I see FAQ about whether your pet can earn flight credit yet there is nothing about the health safety of your passengers? Is this some kind of joke? I don't understand this at all. What is the deal with this arbitrary number of five or less pets on the plane? What is the reasoning behind the number 5? How much research was done to reach this number? People are not "pet bashing" here. We love animals in the appropriate settings. We are seriously concerned about the health safety of passengers on Southwest flights and it is terribly disappointing when the CEO and Southwest employees fail to effectively address this issue.
Amy24
Not applicable
Southwest was already transporting service animals on their flights. Now they are looking at ways to increase revenue during tough economic times. It makes sense. I am excited that our little Yorkie will now be able to travel with us on vacation! Way to go Southwest!!
Anonymous987
Not applicable
Is is just me, or do some of the posts coming out against the new small pet policy sound so very similar? Why, it's almost as if someone was reading/typing from the same list of "talking points". No, I'm not inclined to default to "conspiracy theories" (Hey, I actually *believe* that Oswald *was* the lone assassin, and that Neil Armstrong actually *did* walk on the moon and *not* a sound stage), but some of the negative comments just seem overly artificial, and it makes one wonder. Yes, I know some folks do indeed have allergies( I have some myself), but there are ways to mitigate them. Whenever I encounter something that triggers one of mine (no matter where I run into it), I'm prepared for it. It's called "personal responsibilty" and more people should consider practicng it.
Anonymous1970
Not applicable
Well, I'm glad about the pet policy. Maybe the extra cost is also to ensure that flight attendants can give some of their time to ensure carrier policies are followed? And I'm sure they'll also start carrying benadryl or something for people who find out on the plane that they're allergic. As someone with a horrible cat allergy, I still think it's a good change. And to whoever said carrying the pets in the belly of the plane, maybe you should check the news cuz pets die in the belly all the time, it doesn't receive the same air, it freezes, etc. And the SW policy before was that if no one has an issue with the animal flying it could, so if you've seen pets on there before, that's why. On top of that, if you're some fool with mild allergies, the plane is not forever tainted just because a dog was in a carrier. And I for one, will be flying a lot more on SW as a result, and will be glad to not have people who are so freakin nutty anti-pet folk as some of the people on here seem to be.
o1ive12
Not applicable
While I am not allergic to dogs and cats, I want to speak out for those who are. While this is a good way to make more revenue, I believe that this will really hurt your customer base that are allergic to pets. Can you implement a plan that allows for people with pet allergies to notify the crew just like those who have peanut allergies? I think that if there are people should have priority in travel. Those who are carrying the pets should have to take another flight if there are people one board who are allergic.
carroll3
New Arrival
If the SWA starts to loose Customers and money I am certain they will take another look at the policy change. Just like every service business in the world we are here to please most of the people not just some of them. It has appeared to those of us who work here our no pet policy was starting to hurt us. Most pet owners realize the risk of traveling with pets, more pets are lost once the pet owner changes their surroundings , it is not wise to take your pet out of town. I do not think we will have 100's of dogs and cats on flights, who the hell wants you to bring your pet with you? Give PAWS a chance.
Anonymous2930
Not applicable
Amen to the personal responsibility suggestion! If someone is so allergy sensitive that they have to be worried about the airline (any airline) providing them with an Epi-pen, they damn sure ought to be carrying one around for themselves.
Anonymous3439
Not applicable
As a loyal customer for years, I am disappointed in your new pet policy. Both my husband and I have severe cat allergies. If we are in an enclosed space with a pet for more than 20-30 minutes we can develop a severe reaction including difficulty breathing. So, as a result of your new policy, we will have to fly feeling drugged and drowsy from Benadryl, which will definitely cause a big problem when we go to pick up our rental car at our destination. I can't see how this is fair to your loyal HUMAN travelers with allergies. For those of you that say that there are OTC antihistamines that do NOT cause drowsiness, that would be a great solution, if they actually helped against a severe allergy. Its sad that we will now have to limit OUR travel in order for you to allow NON humans on your planes. You have made planes peanut free if a customer states that they have an allergy, so I think the only fair thing to do is to set aside pet free flights (ie: only assign 1 daily flight per destination as a pets allowed flight). I hope you consider this change to your rules so we can all travel safely.
Anonymous15
Not applicable
How do paying flying passengers get reimbursed by SWA for the medical bills they will incur due to your new program for pets? There are numerous people with pet allergies that will be risking their health when flying with pets on a plane at high altitudes and asthma is probably not a real good combination. Can't wait to see how long it is before you are taken to court due to your policy causing someone to become ill so you can make money off pets flying. It is not only the fact the you could be on the same flight with a pet but their odor and dander will linger on the plane affecting other flights and passengers on the plane. Though your company is looking to make an extra buck here or there I don't think this program will bring that much revenue by the time you lose flying passengers due to your new policy. BRING back HERB!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Formerly_Loyal
Not applicable
This is just plain dumb. You are asking for chaos: Allergic reactions (far more people are allergic to cats than peanuts), the smell of cat and dog pee and excrement, and godawful noise -- barking and sneezing passengers. Not cute. Not pretty. Not good. Also, it's insulting that your FAQS don't address any of these issues. If you do address them, keep this in mind: It's not appropriate to ask allergic passengers to come armed with meds (which make most of us fall asleep). It's not appropriate to ask passengers to carry scented handkerchiefs as people did back when the streets were the sewers. And it's not okay to suggest the the dogs will not bark because they are so happy to be flying. Paris Hilton and her dog can afford a private plane and so we don't have to put up with her on SWA. We shouldn't have to put up with the spoiled Paris wanna-bes either.
Griffin_Mill
Not applicable
As a shareholder and frequent passenger, I'm wondering how much extra revenue PAWS will contribute to the bottom line. Southwest has made tremendous strides in going after the lucrative business traveler - but generally speaking, business travelers don't bring the family pet with them. Why all the effort to attract a very small portion of the low-yield leisure segment?
Anonymous4336
Not applicable
Service dogs are typically kept clean, clean, clean. They HAVE to be. Those with allergies have, for years, been willing to suffer, take some medicine (and it has side effects, you know) and cope with a seeing-eye dog, if not for moral reasons then for legal ones. But to expect us to do so for your little lap dog.....or for a bogus "emotional support" animal...That's different. COMPARING YOUR WESTIE TO MY CHILD IS OFFENSIVE AND UNACCEPTABLE, and more people, especially parents, need to start saying so. You may have chosen NOT to have children (if you think your dog compares, I'm glad you don't have kids) but that does not make your pet equal to my son. You may not be a parent, but you were once a child. You were never a puppy or a kitty. Your pet is SUPPOSED to behave better than people, including kids: IT'S A PET. For those of you who are switching airlines: As far as I know, SW was the LAST to offer no-pets flying. THE LAST. Thus my concern. So if you are allergic, well, your business was just not as vital as the $75 to be collected for PETS, AND YOU ARE GROUNDED, MY FRIEND, FROM COMMERCIAL AVIATION. BTW, those pet fees will be more than offset by the first disturbance caused by one. AND GIVEN MY EXPERIENCE AS A FLIGHT ATTENDANCE FOR A MAJOR LEGACY CARRIER, THAT WILL BE VERY, VERY SOON. For the SW employee who said the pets "can't roam"......Well, we ALREADY have an example, with your comment, of how employees for ANY organization can fail to enforce rules. According to the rules on the SW website, the pets aren't supposed to even come OUT of their carriers. Now you, a rep of SW, are saying, "Well, they can't ROAM." ALREADY there is a disconnect. Feel it, Southwest? I used to recommend you as an alternative to my airline for all kinds of situations, especially with relatives and friends with allergies. Too bad. No more. And to the poster who mocked the issue of infestation...a United flight last year had to delay, then cancel, due to fleas and ticks on board. Wonder just how they got there? Have any idea what that cost? How would YOU like to have been booked on that flight, on your way to your son's (I mean a real SON'S, not a dog's) graduation or a parent's funeral or a make-it-or-break-it business meeting? And another poster wonders if the pets will be in a pressurized compartment...a perfect example of how difficult enforcement will be. This lady hasn't even READ or UNDERSTOOD the article AT ALL. I will admit that I have not visited the SW website yet. Will SW prohibit pets from emergency exit rows? From bulkhead seats (where there is no place to store the carrier for takeoff and landing)? Will SW require that pet owners be seated next to windows, so that, in an evacuation, no HUMAN passenger will be slowed from exiting by the efforts of a pet owner to grab the pet carrier (despite commands to leave EVERYTHING behind)? Won't all these issues make boarding much, much slower? And this is going to attract the business traveler, HOW? To the poster who advocated "personal responsibility" on the part of allergy sufferers -- how about some of the part of pet owners? PEOPLE should take precedence over PETS. PROFITS should take precedence over pets, too.
Karol
Not applicable
Sorry to say but I think this is a rotten thing for Southwest to do. If pets are allowed to travel then I agree that they should pay but......For pet lovers this is great but for people with allergies to these animals who is caring about them! I would think that humans would come first. You cannot exactly pull over and get medical attention if needed when you are in the air. and who wants to feel like crap even if the medical emerg is not on the airplane but you have to deal with the effects of allergies when you get to where you are going. The other thing about all these animals on an airplane is that the plane will smell like animals, yuk. I know there is supposed to be a limit on how many on each flight but that is not going to "fly" with me.
Rebecca8
Not applicable
I think the reason why some people are having a difficult time understanding why there is such outrage on this policy change is because they have not witnessed or experienced a severe allergy emergency. Not everyone who has allergies experiences them the same way and it is important that everyone keep an open mind here. Also, in many instances with young children you do not know how severe their allergic reaction will be until you confine them into small spaces with the allergens. Whether that be a small apartment, automobile, or an airplane cabin. There is a great deal of personal responsibility that people take when they are worried about their own health. Many people I know avoid visiting friends/family who have cats in their home due the glycoprotein that is secreted by the cat's sebaceous glands. Other people carry around the proper medications and emergency pens. Contrary to popular belief it is not the cat's fur that people are allergic to. It is what is secreted by their skin. People *do* take responsibility and this is precisely why there is such a push back on this policy change because the one airline people with allergies (or worried about allergies) could rely on was Southwest Airlines and now due to poor revenue numbers they are changing a policy that severely impacts our health.
Marci_in_Alexan
Not applicable
Hooray!!!!! I can't tell you how happy I am to hear of your new policy to allow in cabin pets. I love flying Southwest and have absolutely hated purchasing tickets on *all* the other airlines in order to fly with my small dog. Allowing a limited number of in-cabin pets is a very standard practice among airlines and flight attendants/gate agents are trained in handling this. Obviously, if a person/pet didn't follow the policies they wouldn't be allowed to fly. My guess is that most who have traveled on any other airline then Southwest *have* flown with pets in cabin and probably weren't even aware of it. For me, it is always my goal that the people in the seat next to me would not even know I'd purchased a pet in-cabin ticket. My well behaved, sleeping dog, hasn't created any of the crazy scenarios listed above. And if we did, then I am sure that our privileges would -- and should -- be revoked. Thank you Southwest Airlines for adapting this new policy. You are the greatest!!!!