But it has to be a trained service animal. Southwest announced that it will allow service animals on flights that meet certain criteria. It has to be a cat, a dog, or a miniature horse. I haven’t seen too many miniature horses in my life, nevermind trained service ones, but hey.
The new rule goes into place on September 17th this year, 2018. The policy was finalized late last week, and says that only animals trained to perform certain tasks will be allowed. No rodents, spiders, insects, etc will be allowed. The new policy says pretty clearly that it will only allow dogs, cats, and miniature horses. Something about that seems a little humorous to me, but if you’ve ever seen horses play, they’re like big dogs anyway.
It’s hard to enforce exactly what makes a service animal though. A lot of airlines, as well as restaurants and stores, have seen people abusing service animal policies. Typically you’d expect to see a trained service animal wearing a vest of some kind, but that’s not always the case. Simply saying that an animal is a service animal makes restaurants, stores, or otherwise, kick a customer out for fear of lawsuit. There are a bunch of laws in place regarding service animals and their owners’ rights. One law basically says that as a business owner, you can’t ask what disability someone has, etc.
Southwest is combatting the same problem, after seeing people bringing all sorts of animals on flights. Someone once brought a peacock onto a Delta flight, another young woman tried to being her hamster once, but says the airline “forced” her to flush it.