Southwest Airlines Service Animal Policy

Passengers with disabilities or qualifying health conditions are welcome to travel with their assistance animal on Southwest Airlines. You will need to notify the airline that the animal will be joining you. Either when booking online or over the phone, simply add the Disability Option. Southwest Airlines service animal policy is designed to accommodate your travel needs with no unnecessary hassles. It’s also consistent with existing federal regulations. Know your rights and responsibilities as a traveler with a service animal.  

 

Southwest Airlines Service Animal Policy
Southwest Airlines employees are trained to ask factfinding questions while respecting your rights as a disabled person. These employees shouldn’t ask you to name or prove the nature of your disability. However, the airlines may ask a few basic questions about the services the assistance animal provides. This is done to determine which animal classification applies to your particular service animal.  

Service and emotional support animals may be on the aircraft floor or on the passenger’s lap, size-permitting. Animals cannot sit on a passenger seat. Customers are not required to transport fully trained service animals or emotional support animals in pet carriers. However, if a carrier is used, it must be properly stowed for taxi, takeoff, and landing. The animal must be positioned so as not to obstruct an emergency evacuation.   

 

Southwest Airlines Emotional Support Animal Policy
If traveling with an emotional support animal, a passenger must have documentation issued on official letterhead from a doctor or qualifying mental health professional stating the animal is needed to accommodate the passenger’s air travel. Apart from well-behaved emotional support animals with proper documentation, Southwest Airlines does not make special allowances for therapy dogs.  Only one emotional support animal is allowed per passenger. 

 

What Types of Service Animals are Prohibited?
Another person’s allergies or general discomfort is not sufficient reason to disqualify your service animal from air travel. However, service and emotional support animals must be trained to behave in a public setting. If an animal behaves poorly, it may be denied boarding. When traveling internationally, additional service animal restrictions may be determined by the country you’re traveling to.  

Exotic or unusual breeds may be banned from traveling even if they are service or emotional support animals including: 

  • Rodents 
  • Ferrets 
  • Insects 
  • Spiders 
  • Reptiles 
  • Hedgehogs 
  • Rabbits 
  • Sugar gliders 

 

Other Types of Pet and Animal Travel with Southwest Airlines