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General Travel Policies

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Service Dog

edunn2053
New Arrival

I have a registered service dog that I need to fly with me. What documentation do I need to have with me on her? Also, are there any additional fees that will be added onto my air fare?

13 REPLIES 13

Re: Service Dog

Lindsey Employee
Employee

Hi @edunn2053,

 

Thanks for posting in the Community! There's a lot of knowledge here, but a few details will help us get you the information you need. Are you inquiring about a service animal or an ESA (emotional support animal)? The documentation required varies between the two. 

 

Service animals and ESAs are not subject to the pet fee. 

 

Lindsey
Community Manager
The Southwest Airlines Community

Re: Service Dog

carolshaw
New Arrival

I need to see a cupy of the medical letter required to brimg my ESA service dog.

Re: Service Dog

franktravel
Rising Star

Traveling with an EmotionalSupport Animal:

 

In order for a Customer to travel with an emotional support animal, the Customer must provide to a Southwest Airlines Employee current documentation (not more than one year old) on letterhead from a mental health professional or medical doctor who is treating the Customer’s mental health-related disability stating: 1) The passenger has a mental or emotional disability recognized in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders - Fourth Edition (DSM IV) 2) The passenger needs the emotional support or psychiatric service animal as an accommodation for air travel and/or for activity at the passenger’s destination 3) The individual providing the assessment is a licensed mental health professional, and the passenger is under his or her professional care AND 4) The date and type of the mental health professional's or medical doctor’s license and the state or other jurisdiction in which it was issued.

 

Southwest Airlines does not accept for transportation therapy dogs or exotic animals. Please note that Customers traveling with an assistance animal or an emotional support animal may not sit in an emergency exit seat.

Re: Service Dog

shopgirl
New Arrival

where does one sit with and emotional support dog who does not fit under the seat?

 

i see where they are not allowed in exit aisle ut besides that where is seating allowed?

 

Also do you recommend pre registering the animal for the flight, can i expect any issues, just nervous as this will be my first time and dont want to hae any problems at the airport

Re: Service Dog

Lindsey Employee
Employee

Hi @dlancaster1969,

 

You can find required documentation for ESAs by visiting Southwest.com > Customer Service > Customers with Disabilities > Assistance Animals. Here's a link that will take you directly to the information. We've also got information on that page in a printable PDF, so you can have it with you at all times! 

 

Lindsey
Community Manager
The Southwest Airlines Community

Re: Service Dog

bbanddog
New Arrival

I had a terrible experience this morning.  Having made a roundtrip reservation to include my ESA and checking with the reservation agent when I made the reservation that the documentation I have from another airline would be be accepted, I was told at check-in that it was not acceptable.    I had made the outbound flight based on the United Emotional Support Authorization and had no problem.  Other airlines accept the form without question as it includes the DSM disability information & states that traveling with my dog is necessary (we just returned from international travel with the documentation).  It is signed by my doctor of 15 years and includes her name, license number and phone number.  

 

Requiring a letter when the official documentation is available in a different format shouldn't be necessary (United Airlines letterhead instead of the doctor's letterhead).  I tried to explain this to customer service and was told they wouldn't change their policy.  Unbelieveable.  As a healthcare provider myself, I would like to point out that the letter as required by Southwest Airlines is out of date.  DSM-5 superseded DSM-IV in 2013.  

 

An out of date policy and approach.  Doctors shouldn't need to be seen everytime a different airline is used.  

 

 

Re: Service Dog

digthemadlife
New Arrival

I didn’t see this answered. I have a lab as my emotional support animal. Where would she sit?

Highlighted

Re: Service Dog

nashley Employee
Employee
Solution

Great question! Larger dogs that can't fit under a seat Preboard and sit in the bulkhead. Please see a Customer Service Agent at the gate for assistance with getting a Preboard slip and visit https://www.southwest.com/html/customer-service/unique-travel-needs/customers-with-disabilities-pol.... for more information on traveling with Emotional Support Animals (link on left of page).

Nashley

Re: Service Dog

consilia
New Arrival

Today, I was on a flight from San Antonio to Tampa. There were 3 dogs on the plane.

One was a pit bull sitting on the passenger's lap in the front seat. The dog was so large that it's head stuck out into the aisle.

I understand that SW policy allows passengers to travel with dogs that are required for emotional needs. However, what about the emotional stress on the passenger for putting up with these dogs, especially a pit bull hanging out into the aisle. I along with everyone boarding had to walk by the dog. In addition, I along with others needing to use the restroom, had to go by the dog as well.

The dog seemed to be well behaved but I have a fear of dogs and this caused emotional distress to me to have to walk by it. In addition, one of the flight attendandants shared the same sentiment and told me that SW employees are not even allowed to ask what purpose the dog is serving?

What abot considering ALL passenger rights instead of just those with a dog?