Alaska Airlines said they will no longer allow emotional support animals on flights booked after January 11, 2021.
On their website, they said, "Effective January 11, 2021, Alaska will accept only service dogs which are trained to do work or perform tasks for the benefit of a qualified individual with a disability. Emotional support animals will no longer be accepted."
The airline will allow emotional support animals on flights up to February 28, 2021 if the flight was booked before January 11.
The airline said their policy change came after the Department of Transportation announced changes to the Air Carrier Access Act in December 2020.
Alaska Airlines said, "Changes to the DOT rules came after feedback from the airline industry and disability community regarding numerous instances of emotional support animal misbehavior which caused injuries, health hazards and damage to aircraft cabins."
The airline added, "This regulatory change is welcome news, as it will help us reduce disturbances onboard, while continuing to accommodate our guests traveling with qualified service animals."
A woman in Big Timber said her emotional support bird goes with her everywhere. Raven Rugh got her bird, Norman, two years ago after her therapist told her to get a high maintenance animal to help with her anxiety and severe depressive disorder. She said she doesn't have the ability to care for a dog or the resources to obtain a service dog.
Speaking of the new Alaska Airlines' policy, she said, "If I was going somewhere that I needed to fly, like it's that far away, I'm going to need Norman when I get there and definitely on the flight. And, if I couldn't bring him, I wouldn't be able to go."