Skip to main content

Southwest Airlines Community

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
Anonymous3439
Not applicable
For those that think that allergy sufferers are just hypchondriacs.......please go visit the Allergy and Asthma Foundation's website at www.aafa.org. This is a paragraph taken directly from their website: "Reactions to cat and dog allergens that land on the membranes that line eyes and nose include swelling and itching of the membranes, stuffy nose and inflamed eyes. A pet scratch or lick can cause the skin area to become red. If allergen levels are low or sensitivity is minor, symptoms may not appear until after several days of contact with the pet. Many airborne particles are small enough to get into the lungs. When inhaled, the allergens combine with antibodies. This can cause severe breathing problems—coughing, wheezing and shortness of breath—in highly sensitive people within 15 to 30 minutes. Sometimes highly sensitive people also get an intense rash on the face, neck and upper chest. For about 20 percent to 30 percent of people with asthma, cat contact can trigger a severe asthma attack. Cat allergies also can lead to chronic asthma." Honestly....for someone that has allergies to pet dander, being stuck on a plane with a cat or dog for hours really doesn't sound like fun, especially when anti-histamines don't always work to stop the reaction. It is pretty sad when the health of another human being is trumped by someone wanting to bring fluffy or fido with them on vacation. If Southwest can eliminate peanuts from a flight when a person is allergic, I find it a bit disheartening that they have (as of yet) no way of restricting pets when others are allergic.
R__May
Not applicable
As a parent of a child who flies frequently - this policy is absurd! Your staff does nothing above and beyond. The administrative tasks of processing my unaccompanied minor is no more strenuous then someone checking baggage (she never does btw). Further more I accompany her to the gate. A staff member walks her from there to a seat on the plane. When she arrives a staff member walks her down the walkway to the gate again where she is met. 90% of the time she is escorted by the pilot or a flight attendant heading that way anyway - not the gate attendant. I can understand a fee for connecting flights but not a simple straight flight. The flights she takes are less then 2 hours. Trust me - no one is doing $25.00 worth of work on her behalf.
Anonymous2664
Not applicable
I'm so glad that Southwest now allows small pets . One of the reasons I selected a very small dog to recently join my family was so that I could have the option to bring him along on travels as needed. Thank you Southwest for offering this service!
Judy8
Not applicable
I have to admit I am a little shocked at some of the comments I have read! Of course, some of them must be from the same people who given obscence stares to families that have children who are crying. How caring are they? I adopted an abandoned puppy many years ago and without hesitation called the airline and flew my small family member back with me. The airline was not Southwest. I asked the vet if I could give my new family member something to keep him calm and so he would not become naseous. I did, and no one knew I had a puppy with me until I was leaving the plane. I believe the size of the pet needs to be stipulated. Some suggestions on what can be given to keep the pet calm should be provided. When people are being screened the pet carrier should also be screened. Let's think of ways to be proactive instead of complain about the situation. Yes, I am for this situation, but their needs to be strong standards and they need to be stipulated and adhered to. I look forward to traveling on SW soon with my furry friends whomever they should be. Peace
April15
Not applicable
Bravo to SWA for FINALLY allowing pets! I have not flown SWA for years because of their no-pet policy. I have always had an issue, though, with *all* the airlines charging a fee for the pet. My extremely well-behaved, QUIET, clean, dachshund is in a bag that is placed under the seat - JUST LIKE ANY OTHER PIECE OF CARRY-ON ITEM such as a computer or tote. No one has to pay $75 to carry on their purse or their computer. And the attendants have to do nothing. She also weighs less than many carry-on bags, so she's not adding weight to the flight. She is FAR better behaved than 90% of the kids that fly. She doesn't cry or scream (or even bark). She doesn't kick anyone's seat. She doesn't throw things or run up and down the aisle. No one knows she's there except me -- not even the person seated next to me. In all my years of flying with a pet (and it's been many) on *other* airlines, I have not once seen or heard a pet be a problem with noise, aggressiveness or elimination. The same cannot be said for kids (or some adults for that matter). If there comes a time when the dog I have is not good at traveling in a carrier, I will make other arrangements. Most people who travel with their pet do so because the pet is OK with it. We don't want to put them through something that is going to cause them stress. As for those with allergies, I'm sorry for your situation. Some people's respiratory systems are compromised by strong aftershave, perfume, or hairspray. Should there be a rule that you cannot wear any scented products while flying? Someone earlier posted that you need to take responsibility for yourself. The airlines cannot possibly make the aircraft free of all irritants. What do you do for yourself when you are out in the rest of world? If you know you may be in a place that could cause a reaction, prepare for it -- even if that means you have to wear a mask to protect yourself for those couple of hours. A diabetic has to take precautions and prepare for travel (food, insulin). It's about taking responsibility for your own body's health issues and not expect everyone around you to adapt to your individual situation.
J_F_Joyner
Not applicable
Thank you SW for allowing dogs in the cabin. The hype about allergies and pets getting out of their carriers is overblown. My 4-lb. poodle has flown with me for years (10 years) on another airline. Unless someone happens to be eye-level and looks through the mesh on the carrier, people do not even know that a dog is in my carry-on bag. Because she is so used to the routine, she goes to sleep the moment she gets into her carrier bag and doesn't make a sound or move throughout the entire flight. This change in policy is very welcome and now I can fly my favorite airline more often with my best friend in tow.
M_Knight
Not applicable
Your policy makes no mention of how you are going to protect frequent travelers ( an A-lister from the begining and fly regularly) like myself who have SEVERE allergies to cats and dogs. I've already become ill on another airline when someone sitting behind me brought a cat on-board and placed it under my seat on a cross-county flight without notice. Those with my condition already suffer from not being able to go to friends and families homes for extended periods becuase of these allergies. Now I am faced with having to deal with these issues on your flights as well. I'm not against people who love pets taking them along, but their love should not impact my health so Southwest can make a few bucks. Southwest needs to annouce to travelers when pets are on-board and ask pet owners to move away from people with allergies (why should we give up a favorite seat to accomodate a pet?). Also, it's not just the pets themselves. The dander from these pets will remain behind on your planes and can cause problems for severe sufferers long after the pet is gone. Please at a minimum, restrict pets to a certain known set of rows (in the back of the plane) so people like me can avoid those areas. After many years of being a loyal passenger of Southwest, I would hate to have to switch airlines because you prefer pets over people like me.
MD_to_CA_yea_
Not applicable
Thank you SW!!!! For P.A.W.S.! My Shih Tzu & I have not done much traveling since retiring 5 years ago because there is no way I’d put her in cargo! Now we can fly from the East coast to West coast and fulfill many pleas “come visit us” & bring your fur-baby too! Now, at approaching 70 years old, we’ll start a new life! Thank you SW! By the way; SW has always been my and my famlies preferred airline! I read quickly some of the comments. Most were concerned with cat allergies. I do understand having been a cat lover most my life; and then when grandchildren were small, they developed allergies. With heavy heart, my friend took my cat. (I have visitation *smiles*). As my grandchildren matured; they had friends who had cats, and sometimes handle friend sleepovers? They took an allergy pill! Meanwhile I had been introduced Shih Tzu dog breed. This breed; poodles, and some others do NOT have dander, nor do they shed! Responsible pet owners may have done what I’ve already done - checked with SW for carrier and other requirements; fees, etc. After getting ‘armed’ with info from a friendly SW agent via phone; I called my VET. My concerns to VET were how many hrs prior trip my ‘fur-baby’ to clense and how long being confined without food and a drink of water; thus, not getting bladder and bowel discomforts. As for smell – all the dog owners that I know; including me, are faithful with VET checks; are regulary bathed, & mine even gets her teeth cleaned and 'baby-wipes' after potty or her feet have walked outdoors! – even her teeth are cleaned! Anyone traveling with a pet will usually will have a well maintained pet. I don't look for any wild outdoor dogs hopping the flite. Ditto with cats. They make shampoos and products for cats now that eliminate allergy causing dander. I'll bet those owners know of it. (Actually; I’ve sat beside humans in the past that could have used a shower and a mint)! One added thought - Pets do not like to potty where they sleep and the carrier will be their very temporary ‘spot’ for a few hrs. until they see grass or a sandbox. Bon-voy-age.
Anonymous1427
Not applicable
Please reconsider your policy of allowing pets without a health certificate - that appears to violate some USDA policies - also a pet that makes someone ill and shouldn't have been allowed on a plane at all sounds like grounds for an expensive lawsuit.
Anonymous1865
Not applicable
HEY WHINERS!! Yeah you with the allergies that don't grasp that the little old lady next to you may have CAT HAIR and DANDER on them!! Or the Seeing EYE Dog that has ALWAYS been allowed! So you dont think a BLIND person can have their EYE's with them because you are too lazy to take your allergy medicine? Seriously quit whining and making others change their lifestyles for YOUR problems. I don't like listening to your whining kid with his running nose and demanding mouth. Can I get you booted from the plane? Sadly most pets are better behaved than the Children that are on the plane flying for FREE. So again, stop placing your personal issues on other people. You are the one with the allergy NOT me. So I shouldn't have to change my life and not be able to bring my pet because YOU have problems. Once your kids stop intruding on MY life, then you can whine about my pet bird ( he weighs 2 OUNCES) and is my carry-on. Yeah, you get to bring a small suitcase and take up my time while you fight to get it down, while my little bird is in his carrier and i had to check everything else. WAY TO GO SOUTHWEST. I will Fly you AGAIN!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Thanks because a lot of my Military Aviator brothers now fly for you and I love to give back to those companies that give to us
Anonymous1864
Not applicable
GOOD JOB Southwest!! I think there are a lot of people that want other people to change their lives for them. I am glad I can take my pets on your flights. I have always been respectful of others and keep my pet in the carrier. Now its time for the Allergy sufferers to take their medication like they are supposed too. Again AWESOME job.
Anonymous1864
Not applicable
Oh NO, YOUR EYES might get red!!! OMG!!! Listen people do you not grasp that some of us, IE military, have family across the country? We like to see them and may not have people at our location to take care of them. You know with a war and such on most guys don't even make friends as they are moving, getting out, or getting killed. But you whiners keep on whining. Seriously if I was SWA I would do anything to get you off my customer list. CONSTANT whining! What if I am sick from your smell? Some of you are allergic to Deodorant. Next you don't even READ the policies.
JD_in_Chicago
Not applicable
Thank you, SouthWest!!! We are semi-weekly fliers who had just decided to switch to AirTran because of their pet policy. I was researching rates and found this post. We love SW and would be happy to stay. (But, wow. Looks like the Anonymous pet hater was pretty busy here. Seriously. Take an allergy pill already. It may help clear your head so that you can make up more pet horror stories.)
Anonymous4336
Not applicable
To the military man who talks about all us "whiners:" THANKS FOR YOUR SERVICE. But you know that ALL of the airlines hire military pilots. You should also know that SW's policy DOES NOT ALLOW BIRDS. No one has suggested that seeing-eye dogs be disallowed. You write: "You are the one with the allergy, not me." Well, YOU are the one with the pet, not me. It works both ways. To everyone bringing a pet on board: I will have allergy medicine with me, and I will take it even though it makes me drowsy and ill-feeling, IF you bathe your pet, get it a health certificate, don't feed/water it too close to departure, AND never, EVER take it out of its carrier on the plane.
Judy_Wright
Not applicable
Congratulations on the change in your on board pet policy. I have flown for years, transporting and hand delivering my Yorkie babies to their new homes. I have had to fly every other airline in the sky, because they would allow the pets in the cabin. I have NEVER been aware of a single passenger on any flight where I accompanied a puppy, or have been on a flight where someone else had a pet in the cabin, having a "death defying" allergic reaction to the animal's presence on board. I am absolutely thrilled that I can now fly my FAVORITE airline, from the airport within 5 miles of my home, all across America, NON STOP! (I have always HATED those 2-4 hour layovers in Atlanta!) People with allergies exist in the world with other people and are exposed to all types of allergies from fellow passengers! I am terribly sensitive to some perfumes, even fabric softners on people's clothes. I take allergy meds when I am going to be around other people, especially in close quarters! I suspect other people with allergies do likewise. If you are seated on a plane with someone next to you that has offensive perfume, or a pet and you are having allergy issues, simply ask to be moved. This allergy issue has not been a problem on the other airlines....it wont be an issue for Southwest either! And you are going to see a substantial increase in revenue, I can assure you! Breeders everywhere will be taking advantage of this service, and hand deliver their puppies in person!
Tina7
Not applicable
I cannot believe you think by allowing animals on your flights you will generate more business. I understand time are tough, however you are making a big mistake. We are currently planning a trip to Las Vegas and have 10-12 people who were going to book with Southwest, now that we all know about this new policy we will be flying with another airline. I understand people love their animals, but give me a break.. THEY ARE ANIMALS AND DO NOT BELONG ON AN AIRPLANE IN SUCH TIGHT QUARTERS. I will be advising all my friends and family about this policy. So many people have allergies and will not be able to fly Southwest. Very disappointed with Southwest.
Anastasia
Not applicable
Thank you for PAWS! It's about time.
TK
Not applicable
I would rather fly on a plane with a little dog or cat than sit next to some lady that has bathed in her perfume. I sat near a lady that decided to freshen up before the plane landed. She proceeded to spray herself with some scent that she found to be quite lovely. I sneezed until I was able to get off the plane. I understand the concern of people that have cat allergies. But, it is not like you are going to be onboard with a petting zoo. The animals are going to be restricting to their carriers. They are not going to climb into your lap and snuggle with you. Those people that say they are now going to fly another airline... which one?? There is no airline that does not fly pets onboard. SW was the last one. It's kind of sad really. There were things that set SW apart from other airlines and now it seems as though SW is becoming a bit like them. But, as a former SW employee my loyalty remains true to the airline that I love. I'll put up with the screaming kids. howling little dogs, and the meowing cats. Because in the end, there is no other airline that I would choose to fly.
Nancy12
Not applicable
Thank you Southwest for the PAWS program. It has always been a concern for all of us having to ship our pets in the cargo hold. This is wonderful and I am so delighted that you have made this possible. Southwest is the way to go !!
Kelsi
Not applicable
Honestly, I was shocked to see how many negative comments were left after this post. I think people are very SPOILED to Southwest. They are clearly the best deal when it comes to flying and on top of that, you get great service. I'm sure that when Southwest was mulling over this policy, the issue of people with pet allergies did, at some point, cross their mind. Does anyone seriously think they would make such a huge change without considering all the possibilities? Give them a little more credit. These are the same people that have kept your fares extremely low, your flights on time, and your flight attendants making you laugh. I completely trust their judgement and you should know that if they've been this concerned about keeping their customers happy for this long, they will continue to make your flying experience safe and happy. If you had some huge allergy that would kill you if you were on a plane with a dog, I'm sure they would do everything in their power to accomodate you. So why don't you cross that bridge when you get to it?
Jefftb
New Arrival
I am not in favor of pets in the cabin and I have a pet. I just imagine lots of noise, potential odors, and several people with allergy reactions.
Kelsi
Not applicable
Honestly, I was shocked to see how many negative comments were left after this post. I think people are very SPOILED to Southwest. They are clearly the best deal when it comes to flying and on top of that, you get great service. I'm sure that when Southwest was mulling over this policy, the issue of people with pet allergies did, at some point, cross their mind. Does anyone seriously think they would make such a huge change without considering all the possibilities? Give them a little more credit. These are the same people that have kept your fares extremely low, your flights on time, and your flight attendants making you laugh. I completely trust their judgement and you should know that if they've been this concerned about keeping their customers happy for this long, they will continue to make your flying experience safe and happy. If you had some huge allergy that would kill you if you were on a plane with a dog, I'm sure they would do everything in their power to accomodate you. So why don't you cross that bridge when you get to it?
Dana3
Not applicable
To all the whining and complaining people...get a grip...Every single other airline has been allowing people to transport animals on board for some time now. If you don't like the new policy, don't fly Southwest. What you could do is take some freakin allergy medicine to prevent any problems. Some people will find ANYTHING to complain about. These are the same people who bath themselves in perfume and bring tuna sandwiches on board to eat. I'm curious what these people are going to do who are saying that they will not fly now on Southwest and are going to book on another airline. You mean "another airline" that also allows you to bring pets on board?
Diana_Hoyt
Not applicable
I am a true Southwest junkie. I love the airline and fly it most times when I travel. I have two cats and a dog. I love my animals and pretty much spoil them. However, they are ANIMALS. Not everyone feels as I do about them and the fact that some people can become unable to breath in the presence of animals, should have come into consideration when you decided to allow animals. I am glad that your airline was considering the needs of those with pets (that is why I like your airline) but I am hoping that their will be only certain airplanes designated for animals. I am not allergic nor do I want to listen to frightened dogs or worse yet cats. They do not calm easily. Required tranquilizers would minimize that issue but what will you do about defecation, urination and vomit. It WILL happen. Probably every flight that animals are on. Worse than bodily excretions, also do not want to witness someone in resperatrory distress. Have you people ever witnessed that? It is horrid to witness someone with severly restricted airways try to breath. I use the airline because it is low cost and no frills and much more relaxed. I am willing to be more cramped and bring my own food to save some money. I have always applauded your airline for its policies, but this one will probably send me elsewhere. Not exclusively because you will carry animals, but mainly because YOU HAVEN'T ADDRESSED THOSE WHO CAN NOT BE IN THE PRESENCE OF ANIMALS!!! In effect, you are now being discriminatory as these folks will not be able to fly the friendly skies with Southwest if they are going to risk not being able to breath. And, for the record, unless a plane is COMPLETELY cleaned (vaccumed and shampooed every inch of carpets and seats, air ducts, pillows, blankets, etc. and everything else wiped down), the plane would still be as much of a contamination to someone who is allergic even if no animal were present on that flight. That is impossible to do after each flight is it not? Planes need to be designated as animal planes only if you are going to do that and advertised IN BIG LETTERS AND AS LOUDLY AS POSSIBLE as such. Then, the consumer can make an informed decision whether or not to take that particular flight. I would not take those flights. I would not want someone with an animal to sit with me AND I LOVE ANIMALS. Will I have any rights once in the air if I do not want a dog or cat in my seating area? I doubt it. I am completely disappointed and unfortunately will use another airline whenever possible now.
Sophia
Not applicable
This is great news! We've never flown SouthWest before because of the no pets policy, but that will change now. Our pets love to travel with us. I understand the allergy issue, I have allergies myself, but I would just advise you to take your allergy medication before you fly. Even before SouthWest allowed pets, you were exposed to dander as per the FAA, "You will still be exposed to pet dander on every flight, even without any pets in the passenger cabin. This is because most allergens are carried into the cabin on the clothes of other passengers." We have 2 maltese, they don't shed and cause the least amount of allergies, but I'm willing to put up with other pets who do shed because I understand people's need to have their pets with them. Maybe you don't realize, but the FAA has always required ALL airlines to allow service animals, including SouthWest. If people want to take their small pets onboard and pay a fee, assume those pets are cared for well, and they don't have fleas etc., and won't necessarily pee or bite you. Pets gets stressed when they smell fear or anger, they'll be better behaved if you are.
Anonymous3051
Not applicable
I've flown SWA for decades and logged hundreds of flights. Because of PAWS however I won't do it again. I love dogs and cats, but several members of my family are HIGHLY allergic. I'm not going to risk their health and well-being just so fluffy can be onboard. Shouldn't that be the number one concern of an airline - the personal health and safety of their passengers? This new program is misguided.
Keightee
Not applicable
There are so many people living with allergies of all kinds that businesses cannot simply cater to everyone. Think about how many people are deathly-allergic to peanuts, but we still make most candy (even without peanuts in the ingredients) in factories where peanuts are used. People with allergies always have to be very careful and it's not something they are new to. Pet dander allergies are very difficult to avoid because you never know who has a pet at home or whether or not your going to be around an animal in a public area. For many people, pet-related allergies can be controlled by allergy medications. For those with severe reactions, however, this shouldn't be new to them. Those people should be generally always aware of the possibility of service animals on board a plane and would probably take the appropriate steps to ensure their health. If you are allergic to peanuts you don't get mad at M&M Mars for making Milky Ways in the same factory as Snickers - you don't eat them, because it's not safe for you. The air on planes is circulated so if any number of people on the plane have pets at home, you're in danger. If you have allergies it is YOUR responsibility to ensure your own health.
Lisa_Dee
Not applicable
First of all, to all you anonymous ANIMAL-HATERS: There is no reason for ANY pet today to have fleas & ticks. Ever heard of pet medications like ADVANTAGE, FRONTLINE, ADVANTIX, etc.??? Ever seen the commercials on TV??? There are many, many medications available so no pet has to suffer these harmful pests - and no human has to suffer them either! SO LIGHTEN UP!!! Yes, they are for cats too. Most allergic reactions do not rise to the level of one needing an epi-pen or immediate medical attention. They do include red, itchy eyes, watery eyes, coughing, sneezing & the like - no fun, for sure, but they can be treated with OTC medications like Benadryl. So again, LIGHTEN UP!! I have a small service dog and will be traveling on Southwest Airlines next month. She has never bitten anybody and never will. She is well-socialized, well-trained and well-behaved. She is so quiet most people around us don't even notice her, UNLIKE SMALL CHILDREN ON FLIGHTS. She will never kick anyone's seat; she will never scream & cry for the entire duration of a flight; she will never run loose all over the plane. SO LIGHTEN UP!! I would never put her on a tray table, or on an empty seat. She may sit in my lap, but mostly she will lay quietly at my feet. I will make sure she's clean & well-groomed. She does have long hair, but she doesn't shed much because I keep her well-groomed. A healthy, well-groomed animal DOES NOT SHED EXCESSIVELY. AND YOU WILL NOT GET DIRTY OR CATCH ANY DISEASES BECAUSE THERE WAS A DOG OR CAT ON YOUR FLIGHT. SO LIGHTEN UP!! If my service dog throws up due to motion-sickness, I will clean it up myself & then go wash my hands. NO BIG DEAL - SO LIGHTEN UP!!! IT IS NOT A BIOHAZARD!! THAT IS RIDICULOUS!!! People can get motion-sickness and throw up too - that's why airlines generally stock those little sick bags. You know, in the seat pockets with the magazines. SO LIGHTEN UP!!! Yes, the air is recirculated, but it is also filtered from what I understand, and I've read that most planes have extremely good air filters - the best around. SO LIGHTEN UP!! Look, it comes down to this: passengers just need to respect each others' rights. Period. I need to have my dog with me, and she won't hurt you or make you sick. If you have dog allergies, sit at the opposite end of the plane. That will be enough, I promise. My dog will be in my control at all times and will not be running rampant down the aisle, I assure you. And if you do not like animals, DO NOT SIT NEXT TO US. I won't be offended in the least.
Lisa_Dee
Not applicable
To Joe, posted 5/29/09: NOTHING is worse than 2nd - hand smoke. 2nd-hand smoke KILLS PEOPLE. Pet odors can be unpleasant, for sure, but THEY DO NOT CAUSE CANCER, COPD, EMPHESYMA, or other serious, fatal diseases for which there is no cure, like tobacco smoke does. And pet odors are not radioactive, either - unlike tobacco products. (Cigarettes do contain a small amount of radioactivity - this is what causes the lung cancer after many years of smoking or being around 2nd-hand smoke, folks.) And to the poster who thinks that every animal that ever gets on a plane will have an accident, even on short flights - that simply IS NOT TRUE. Housebroken pets often go more than 8 hours every day without relieving themselves in the house. They wait until their owners get home & take them out. Animals typically do not like to relieve themselves in small spaces. My flight will be 2 1/2 hours, and I am very confident that my little service dog will not have an accident. She will also be clean - not smelly as many posters (haters) are alleging. How about babies on flights with smelly diapers? You know, the bathrooms on flights typically don't smell that good either - why don't you guys complain about that? True, no one asks to have allergies - but I never asked for my disability, either. No one does - so please remember that, those of you who would hassle people with service dogs. There are MANY kinds of disabilities besides the ones you can see, and a service dog does not have to be a large breed to help its owner. Small dogs like mine are legitimate service animals. And medical and psychological disabilities are legitimate too, and if an animal helps these people, then let them fly.
Derick
Not applicable
I can’t be happier that I will be able to bring my small dog on flights!! For all those that think this is such a bad idea. Myself, I think it’s a awful to have babies on a flight because they stink, and scream. At least my baby will be sleeping slightly under the seat not bothering anyone. For the jerk that was so worried about an emergency, humans first and all that BS. You’re a jerk. Thank you Southwest!!!
Kathleen_Krantz
Not applicable
To all those "B------ing" about Allergies & such - I am SEVERELY Allergic & Asthmatic, But I also LOVE animals. By the way - I DESPISE CHILDREN, YET I - and other very sick & sometimes very OLD people are FORCED to deal with people's BRATS on airlines EVERY SINGLE DAY!! My pet doesn't SCREAM, CRY, KICK THE BACK OF ANYONE's SEAT, RUN UP & DOWN THE AISLES, etc!! And as far as your health problems, most airlines give me a hard time about my Medical Equipment I have to fly w/ all the time too - so why should YOU be anymore important (& your health problems) than ME! I have rights too and so do others who fly. I'd rather deal with 10 dogs or cats on a flight than 1 Child!! As far as I am concerned, children WITH OR WITHOUT PARENTS should pay DOUBLE what any adult does. They're absolute MONSTERS! and no one should have to PUT UP WITH THEM for what you pay nowadays to fly!
Erin14
Not applicable
I am disgusted that cats and dogs are permitted, but not rabbits. Rabbits aren't rodents or livestock; technically, they're lagomorphs, but more importantly, they're charming, domesticated house pets. Generally, cats and dogs are more audible and odorous than rabbits (and cats, in particular, are quite offensive to allergy and asthma sufferers). I am offended by Southwest's ignorance about as rabbits as companion animals. Because Southwest Airlines does not consider rabbits as deserving of in-cabin accommodations as other house pets, I will not consider flying or recommending Southwest Airlines ever again. I hope that the policy will be revised to be more inclusive and welcoming to more customers.
Dumb_Founded
Not applicable
You people are morons. OMG my allergies, we as a nation should be ashamed. We have allergies for this, allergies for that, excuses why we are fat, excuses, excuses, excuses. I am sure many of you who complain about pet allergies are smokers ... ever think you pollute the air every single day? They allow dogs/cats. Take your meds before you fly. Stop looking for every single excuse in the world, this is why America has fallen. We have EXCUSES and stupid people like the ones on this board who complain and want to be coddled. Grow up, be an adult. Pets are apart of people in this country. They offer more companionship and in many cases (like this board) more intelligence then many Americans. We do not need to hear everyone wine, fly a carrier that does not allow pets if you want to be pampered. Better yet - drive ... that way not one allergy could hit you OH WAIT...what if you drive through a pollen field. Maybe you could sue the county for having pollen?! Some of you people need to get a grip and wake the hell up!
Anonymous816
Not applicable
Most pet owners feel justified to take fluffy or meow-meow with them on their flight, do so because they are ignorant of medical facts regarding allergies. It is not the hair or fur that causes the allergy (unless the pet's saliva is on it). It is the saliva and skin protein that causes the allergic reaction. This dander is smaller than dust particles. It floats in the air and stays for long periods, whether the animal is present or not. It is also very sticky and sticks to everything, the ceiling, walls, seats, floors, and peoples' hair, clothing and shoes. It is not so simple as to tell an allergic person to take his Benadryl, etc. Taking antihistamines helps people who may not have a severe allergy, but for some, it is not enough help. A person on Benadryl can still have an anaphylactic reaction while on board or even after the flight is over, therefore, even the Benadryl nor the epi-pen is enough to stabilize the patient. They need immediate care in a hospital where they can be given more specialized meds and breathing support than what Benadryl or epi-pen will give. I too, flew SW because they formerly did not allow pets. I am very disappointed they decided to cater to pet lovers instead of catering to the health of thousands of people with allergies. I too, have severe allergies to animal dander. I have serious allergies to perfume. To be exposed to both of these at one time is even more dangerous. I too, love pets, but have to go a lifetime without a pet even though my children had to suffer because of my allergy and not being able to have pets in the house. I have severe back and leg problems and cannot travel in a car for more than an hour. I have to go to another state for medical treatment. Some of my family live out of the state. I cannot see them unless I fly. I cannot get treatment unless I fly. One thing that might help the person who has only MILD allergies to pet dander is to have the airlines hose off each pet with water before letting them board. Bathing an animal has been known to cut down the dander somewhat. Sadly, the people who are ignorant of causes of allergies, etc., really do not want to be informed of the truth. I
Anonymous816
Not applicable
One note I forgot to post on my last post: Not only should the airlines hose with water each pet before boarding, but also should do same to owner accompanying pet. This may be only somewhat helpful to passengers who have only a mild allergy, but something is better than nothing. Frequent bathing of one's pet has been known to alleviate some of the dander. Thank you.
Anonymous4038
Not applicable
Hey, if I had a pet pig (very clean one) that would fit inside this small pet carrier, and I "labeled" it as a cat, when we took off, that would mean I made pigs fly right? Boy that opens up a whole scenario of things that could happen......LOL !! It's been interesting reading the posts on here and some of you folks really get worked up! Lots of passion there. It seems as though most of what's being expressed here is against change but "schitt happens" as they say and if you want to survive, you gotta be flexible. Not a single one of us (yes, I too am allergic to cats) is able to remain in a dander-free environment during the course of our lives and, to expect any form of PUBLIC transportation to provide that is just nonsense! There are far worse things floating around in our air to be worried about than what a cat/dog can put out on an airline flight. You never know - that pig that I'm flying with might just have the flu and infect us all on the flight with swine flu. I realize there are folks among us that are VERY allergic to certain things, but if you take any form of PUBLIC transportation, then you HAVE TO KNOW that you'll be exposing yourself to almost anything possible, like Grandma's viral pneumonia (Oh, it's just a cold.....) or any other contagion floating in the air. C'mon.........If this bothers you that much then you should probably drive 'cause you won't find any other airline that's pet-free and they'll all have the same floaties in them too.......I think I'll book my flight ASAP 'cause my wife keeps on telling me that I can have a motorcycle when pigs fly..........
Anonymous1658
Not applicable
People, please stop being so dramatic. I am an animal lover, also I have a severe allergy to cats. I plan on flying with my little dog on my next flight. Now if someone is allergic to dogs, I'd be happy to move to the back of the plane for example. Also if I am on a flight and I am near a cat, I would ask that we be separated. No need to be rude or make a scene. I'll be bringing my benedryl just in case there are cats on board. I don't go anywhere without it. Honestly if you are that allergic to something then YOU are an idiot for not carrying benedryl or an epi pen. SW is not a bunch of idiots for allowing pets. Why should THEY be responsible to have pet free flights and lose money, when all the other airlines do so. I hope that all those people who are going to stop flying Southwest enjoy those airlines consistently being delayed and losing bags. And from experience, enjoy those flight attendants being so "friendly" (uhh rude). And please also enjoy paying to pack your bags. And lastly, enjoy those planes that could have a dog or cat on board because they all allow pets 🙂 And to think you'll pay more for your ticket, pay to check your bags, have them lose your bag probably and do nothing (uh US Airways), and you'll still stop breathing mid air because you are THAT allergic to animals and are stupid enough to not bring your meds. Seriously people get a life. I will enjoy a flight without complainers such as yourselves if you choose to fly elsewhere.
Anonymous817
Not applicable
By reading most of the posts out there I can see that MOST of you people just DON'T GET IT DO YOU? The fact is that most of you are so ignorant when it comes to medical facts that it's useless to even try to educate you because you DON'T WANT TO KNOW the facts. You keep REPEATING the same old song and dance even when you are advised of a medical fact. You keep telling us to bring our benadryl and epi pen or we are stupid. The fact is that you are the one who is unknowledgeable regarding allergy facts, not us. For some people, their allergy is mild, and the benadryl will help, but for some, the allergy is life threatening and severe and NO BENADRYL OR EPI PEN IS GOING TO HELP!!!!! , even if they take it before the flight and on the flight. Some people may not know the benadryl won't help until it is too late. Also, keeping MEOW MEOW in a cage under the seat does no good. It is the dander that flies around the ENTIRE cabin, no matter where you sit you will be exposed. Why is it so hard for you people to understand a basic fact? I have recently been exposed by an outside family member who just acquired a cat. I stay out of her house, but places she has been which I frequent are polluted with dander and I cannot get away from it. It got on my clothes and it's now in my house and my car. I have been taking so much Benadryl I am drugged out. I m constantly getting hives and rash and beet red rash from my chest up and trouble swallowing because my throat swells. The Benadryl is not working. I also get cat dander in my allergy treatment, (shots, drops). I cannot visit my family members now or have them visit me. I have been to ER a couple times. I have had to quit jobs because of dander on people's clothes. I have been hauled out of work to ER departments because of impending anaphylactic reaction. I don't think SW personnel are a bunch of idiots. I think they are unaware and unnowledgeable regarding the seriousness of allergies. The problem CANNOT BE FIXED BY TAKING BENADRYL OR AN EPIPEN in many people. Sometimes benadryl makes it worse, like a person who has high blood pressure or arrhythmias. Benadryl can make these conditions worse. There will be no solution to the problem until someone has an anaphylactic reaction EVEN THOUGH THEY TOOK BENADRYL, and they will sue the airlines. Only then will people wake up to being more knowledgeable about allergies. Come on, it's not just SW. Wake up to the fact that even many people who run Medicare and insurance companies who make the rules don't have a medical background. They are running hospitals and telling doctors what to do when they don't have a medical background. Why can't the airlines have a secluded small section for 5 cats and their owners which is enclosed and sealed off from the rest of the cabin? After they get sued a few times, they will think of something. I hope the pilot doesn't all of a sudden acquire a severe cat allergy, while in flight. For you repeaters, BENADRYL OR EPI-PEN IS NOT ALWAYS A SOLUTION.
Anonymous1213
Not applicable
Thank you Southwest for PAWS. After reading the posts, I certainly have a different empathy for the naysayers (particularly the allergy sufferers) - and will make sure I follow all the rules regarding keeping pet in cage, etc. I too was faced with the dilemma of having to forego travel on my favorite airline (that would be Southwest) in favor of another so that I could take my new little puppy. Glad I can have the best of both worlds now.
SSS
Not applicable
First let me say I also have allergies. Life threatening allergies. As a person with allergies I know it is MY responsibility to watch out for myself. I cannot, nor do I wish to live in a bubble. Allergens are everywhere! Those of you flying Southwest before the pet policy was in place....you were flying with all kinds of germs and pet dander! Most of this hair and dander is brought in to the plane on PEOPLE that have pets at home. We certainly can't put the people in a carrier under the seat, so the allergens were probably closer to you than that yorkie under the seat. Better stay away from any public places and especially don't ever stay in a hotel. First, lots of hotels allow pets, but even the ones who don't.....again...dander and hair brought in from, you guessed it, PEOPLE! And we all know just how well hotels clean their bedspreads and furniture. Guess what. People with pets at home store their luggage at home. That luggage is traveling right on top of or underneath your luggage. Transfer again of hair and dander. I have traveled for 30 years extensively for business. Never once have I been bothered by a pet. I have however had to deal with cranky, crying children. Vomit and dirty diapers, kids kicking my seat. Guess what, I sucked it up and dealt with it. They have a right to travel too. If you have severe allergies that cannot be controlled by an OTC pill, I would think as a responsible adult you would carry your own epi pen. The airlines responsibility to provide them? Give me a break. I guess it is the airlines responsibility to provide you with a cab also when you have to much to drink on one of the flights and can't drive. Thumbs up to Southwest for providing this new service for their customers!
Judy_F
Not applicable
Thanks so much for the change in allowing pets. We have a 3 lb yorkie. Recently, we attended our son's wedding in Florida and had to drive 10 hours because your airline did not allow pets at that time. You were the only airline who didn't! However, the cost should be 75.00 round trip. He can stay in a carry on bag on my lap. But, its great news. Is there a charge for passengers using buddy passes? Please advise. Thanks again
Elizabeth_Green
Not applicable
My father passed away today and all my family lives in Minnesota....I want my husband to go but its way to expensive....my second love of my life is my precious Yorkie Frodo! Thanks to Southwest, bringing my secondary moral support during these extreme hard times might just be possable!!!! Everyone else charges outrageous fares making it impossable to afford.....Yorkies DONT shed AND are HYPOALLERGENIC!!!!!!!!!! So all you animal haters can just shove your comments elsewhere......I will fly SOUTHWEST .....MAINLY because of their new pet policies!!! WAY TO GO SOUTHWEST YOU HAVE A NEW CUSTOMER!!!!!!!!!
BillB1
Not applicable
I belong to an organized national bird club that holds bird shows in most of the 48 mainland states. We enjoy taking our show Budgerigars to other locations and entering them in competition, will we be allowed to bring Budgerigars(small parakeets) in a kennel that will fit under the seat in front of us?
Pet_Pal
Not applicable
Yeah, on behalf of 'Bandit', my "Papillon" and myself. Great Job Southwest! I believe allergy proned folks, yes including myself can battle the illness when love (of a pet), supercedes all, in fact, it can help to build an immunity when you hit the allergy 'head on' or "tails on" ha ha! Anyhow you can learn to take your meds, get your rest and love your little buddies, and eventually you find the illness becoming less and less active, besides, pets, well they are so comforting as all of you complainers and whiners are so desperately in need of. Incidentally, my boy will be a daddy soon, if you're interested in a puppy, I'll be flying Southwest!!. Arf Arf!!
Rusty2
Not applicable
Thanks, Southwest, for the new pet policy. And, yes, I "get" that some people have allergies. I live in the Ohio valley and, as anyone who has ever been here knows, airborne allergens are pervasive throughout most of the year. I've always found the atmosphere during a flight --even on carriers which have allowed carry on pets virtually forever -- to be much "cleaner", allergen-wise, than even the sweet fresh air outside. I strongly suspect that most--but not all--of the hypercritical, panic infused comments criticizing the P.A.W.S. policy are, indeed, animal haters who are too ashamed to admit to it. My experience has taught me to ALWAYS be very wary of someone who intensely dislikes animals. They probably don't care much for you--or anyone else--either.
Dander_up
Not applicable
This policy is only a good deal for pet owners; the rest of us are gonna suffer. I was on a 5 hour Southwest flight during which a dog yapped for over 2 hours. You think crying babies are bad? All of the stewardesses begged us to write to Southwest and complain. The dander, the possibility of a pet vomiting and eliminating....I have a dog and love dogs, but having experienced a flight with one, I hope that Southwest comes to its senses.
Anonymous3636
Not applicable
Southwest, you REALLY do listen to your customers! Last year I wrote to you about your pet policy (I fly to Florida with my cat often and couldn't fly you all winter). You responded that you were reviewing your pet policy -- and you meant it! THANK YOU! THANK YOU! And to the woman (listed above) who wrote about allergies... please tell her to read the FAA guidelines. Sharing an airplane cabin does not cause allergic reactions to pet dander. Most likely, the allergen (dander) is carried on passengers' clothing from holding their pets at home! That cannot be avoided anywhere in public, and is partly why traveling pets are restricted to carriers. In all of the years I've been flying where there are animals on board, I have never heard as much as a sneeze from a fellow passenger. For those of us who must travel with our small pets, I commend you on your accommodating us. You will see us a lot this winter, and we will remain loyal Southwest customers.
Anonymous3636
Not applicable
After reading some of the hysteria-filled comments by people with pet allergies, I must add this... If any of you have ever been seated next to me on a flight (I usually do not fly with my cat), then you have been EXPOSED to loads of cat dander -- it's all over my clothing -- even though you can't see it. Same for every pet owner who boards a plane. So you are ALWAYS exposed, no matter where you go -- and you should prepare accordingly. Just as many people are allergic to perfumes. What's next...a no perfume policy to protect those passengers? I am allergic to peanuts, but I would never ask an airline to ban them on a flight. These scenarios of animals running up and down the aisles, barking, biting and defecating is ABSURD. If you have flown any other U.S. airline in recent years, you HAVE flown with animals in your cabin. The reason you haven't noticed them? Because the vast majority of pet owners who pay to travel with their pets are responsible people, who know to keep their pets out of the way of others. Five small animals in carriers under seats will hardly be noticed... and probably better behaved than some passengers I've been seated next to over the years! Give Southwest and P.A.W.S. a reasonable chance to succeed -- or fly another airline and pay their outrageous fees for everything they offer -- and still have to fly with animals!
Anonymous1658
Not applicable
I just flew with my little dachshund roundtrip all the way from Seattle to Baltimore. It was an all day flight and my 4 month old pup did just fine! He didn't make a peep. Most people were so nice often asking how my dog was when passing by to use the bathroom or what not. I gave the dog benedryl prior to the flight as the vet suggested and he slept. Imagine this, no one had an inflight allergy attack and most people didn't even know he was on board unless they'd seen me sitting in the boarding area with him. He remained in his crate during the flights. My husband is in the military and I live 3000 miles away from my family. We make many sacrifices being apart from family and I was so happy I was able to bring my pup home while he is still a puppy and show him to my family, while still flying my favorite airline. You people who have so rudely complained saying that even an epi pen doesn't help- well you shouldn't even leave your house, much less fly if its that bad- pet dander is everywhere... get a life! Thanks Southwest 🙂
Anonymous4270
Not applicable
I am so happy you are allowing pets! To those who are complaining, as a nurse, I am well aware of allergies and problems, however, I also know that the vast majority of most animal allergies only cause sniffles, etc... not anaphalaxis as some of you are claiming. You also must consider that there are several hypo-allergenic breeds (one of which I own due to my own allergies). Like it or not, pets are becoming more like family members, especially in difficult economic times when some cannot afford to have children. My dog has flown with me 12 times in the past 8 months and I can assure you, she has never made so much as a peep. I have never witnessed any dramatic anaphalactic shock symptoms... let alone, any runny noses, from any passengers within close proximity to me. She has never left her carrier. Most people don't even know she is with me. Let us not forget the other more serious illnesses and diseases that one can contract simply by being in such a confined space with so many people at once (and with recirculating air). Rest assured, the airlines are well aware of liabilities and issues that come with allowing pets. Those of us with pets understand our obligations and the rules. If there is ever a problem, I am sure they will attend to it immediately. Please keep in mind that by traveling with a pet, a passenger is paying to do so, and also giving up carry-on space. While I understand the animal counting as a carry on, it is difficult for me to understand why passengers must pay for space that they have already paid for... however, Southwest's cost is less than half than that of other airlines. I'd like to commend Southwest on their reasonable pet fares. I haven't flown with them in years because I haven't been able to bring my dog, but now I will fly with them at least twice a month. Other airlines charge over double what Southwest is charging and it makes me very angry. Southwest should really be thanked for their generosity.