Alaska Airlines’ updated onboard animal policy has entered into effect and the list of approved animals has been substantially narrowed down.
Your dog and cat are still welcome as service animals. So is your miniature horse. That’s it.
Miniature horse? In all my years of flying I have never seen one in the air. In fact, unless we are talking about ponies, I don’t think I’ve ever seen a miniature horse in my life (they are not the same). But they do exist, typically standing between 2-3 feet tall and weighing between 70-100 pounds.
Even that size means the horse must stand in front of passengers in the bulkhead (first row) of the cabin. Can you imagine finding your seat only to be informed that your seatmate is traveling with her horse?
The New York Times shares why some prefer horses over dogs and cats:
The horses are sturdy, have longer life spans, can help those with mobility problems and have been known to guide people who are blind. Others may seek out the horses because they have religious objections to using dogs.
Note I’m talking about service animals here, those that guide passengers who suffer from physical disabilities including deafness and blindness. Alaska’s emotional support animal policy, covering mental health-related disabilities, permits only dogs and cats.
You can read the detailed rules here.
If you want to bring your emotional support monkey or bird on, fly United Airlines instead. Miniature horses are also allowed on United and Southwest as service animals. As for me, now I have another reason to avoid bulkhead rows…