Alaska Airlines has many policies in place to accommodate those traveling with service or emotional therapy animals. Passengers accompanied by service animals are excluded from the weight and size requirements for animal crates, as long as the animal does not exceed the area of the passenger’s seat. The $100 fee per pet is waived for anyone traveling with a service or emotional therapy animal. Service animals are permitted to travel on the floor of the passenger’s seat or in the passenger’s lap if the animal is smaller than an infant. The animal must not occupy a seat, tray table or the aisle. Alaska Airlines states they will do their best to accommodate the passenger by placing them on rows with extra leg space. Alaska Airlines goes further to accommodate passengers with service animals by providing service animal relief areas at various points in airports.
Service animals are expected to behave properly and not bark or disrupt passengers in any way. Service animals are not permitted to walk around and must remain seated for the flight. Animals that threaten the safety and comfort of other passengers are subject to be removed. Animals should not have any foul odors and should refrain from defecating for the duration of the flight. For this reason, owners should limit the amount of food and water the animal receives onboard, while ensuring the animal remains comfortable. It’s a good idea to bring along any treats, toys, snacks or gear your animal may need in your carry-on for easy access during the flight.
Notify Alaska Airlines Before You Fly
Passengers must advise Alaska Airlines that they are traveling with a service or emotional support animal in advance, and must provide different levels of proof or documentation according to the type of animal. For service animals assisting passengers with physical disabilities such as the vision or mobility impaired, no documentation is required, so long as there is credible verbal assurance of the need for the animal. Passengers traveling with emotional or psychiatric service animals must provide documentation from a licensed medical professional stating the need for the animal and information about the physician.
Alaska Airlines has some restrictions when it comes to service animals. Like many airlines, Alaska Airlines does not allow animals that may pose safety or health concerns onboard the aircraft. Prohibited animals include reptiles, amphibians, goats, rodents, insects, snakes, spiders, wild or non-household birds, and any animals with tusks or horns. Unusual or exotic animals are also not permitted. Passengers should check with the airline to make sure their animal will be permitted before arriving to the airport.
If traveling internationally, it’s important to check with the country of destination’s consulate for policies regarding vaccines, health checks and prohibited animals. Many countries including the United States, Mexico and Costa Rica will only permit dogs and cats to enter through customs. Passengers traveling with service animals to Hawaii will need to keep in mind that only dogs are permitted as service animals. For emotional support animals, only dogs and cats are permitted to enter Hawaii.
Service animals are an increasingly common treatment for many disorders, and it is understandably necessary for these animals to accompany their owners on an airplane. While most airlines will accommodate assistance animals, it’s important to check the policies of each specific airline ahead of time to make sure your travels go as smoothly as possible.