No-fly list: Southwest last to ban emotional-support animals

The new rule goes into effect on March 1

FILE - In this Monday, Nov. 23, 2020, file photo, people are seen wearing face masks to protect against COVID-19 while riding on a Southwest Airlines flight from Norfolk, Va., making its landing approach into Baltimore-Washington International Thurgood Marshall Airport, in Glen Burnie, Md.(AP Photo/Julio Cortez, File) (Julio Cortez, Copyright 2020 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.)

DALLAS – Emotional-support animals are no longer free to roam about the cabin on Southwest Airlines either.

The airline said Monday that it will let passengers bring trained service dogs in the cabin, but it will no longer accept support animals, starting March 1.

Customers who want to bring a dog or cat on board as a pet will have to pay a fee, and the animal must be kept in a carrier that fits under an airplane seat.

The move follows a Transportation Department decision to reverse a yearslong regulation and let airlines ban animals that owners claim provide emotional support. Airlines said some passengers abused the old rules to avoid pet fees.

Southwest is the last of the nation’s six largest airlines to change its animal policy after the Transportation Department action.