Anyone requiring an emotional support animal may need a few moments with that pet now: Airlines and cruise ship operators have announced tighter restricted to such animals traveling by air and sea.
Southwest Airlines said Tuesday it is limiting the emotional support animals( ESAs) permitted on its flights to only puppies and cats, while Royal Caribbean is proscribing all such beasts, reports said.
Southwest’s policy requires that all such puppies and cats be restrained by a leash or kept in a carrier, the Los Angeles Times reported.
The Dallas-based airline will also restriction each passenger to one emotional support animal, according to the report.
For service animals that are trained to assist with passengers’ physical disabilities, the carrier will be adopting dogs, cats and miniature ponies, the paper reported.
“We want to make sure our guidelines are clear and easy to understand while providing customers and employees a comfortable and safe experience, ” said Steve Goldberg, Southwest’s senior vice president of operations and hospitality, according to the Times.
Southwest’s new policy, which takes effect Sept. 17, necessitates travelers with an emotional support animal to present a letter from a medical doctor or licensed mental health professional “attesting that the passenger must fly with the animal, ” the Times reported.
Several other airlines, including Alaska, Delta, JetBlue and United have also adopted stricter rules on pets boarding airplanes.
For travel by sea, cruise ship are stiffening restricted to ESAs, with Royal Caribbean proscribing all emotional support animals aboard its international ships effective immediately, according to Miami’s WFOR-TV and the Royal Caribbean blog, an unaffiliated industry site.
“We are updating the policy to distinguish emotional support animals from service animals that are trained and certified to perform government functions for a person with a disability, ” Royal Caribbean was indicated in a statement, according to the blog.
The cruise ship company also said it’s “important to us that all special guests enjoy their vacation, which is why we put into practice this new policy, ” adding that the policy for service animals traveling with guests who have a disability would remain the same.
Reservations of travelers with ESAs reported on bookings prior to July 30 would be allowed to sail, the report said.
Other cruise lines Norwegian and Carnival also do not allow emotional support animals onboard, but does permit trained service animals, MarketWatch reported.
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