TRAVEL BLOG

Will Airlines Keep Current Flexible Change and Cancellation Policies?

As we enter 2021 and see the light at the end of the COVID-19 tunnel, there’s no escaping that the travel industry looks very, very different than it did a year ago.

lady at flight departures board

Many changes focused on keeping you safe, while other airline changes impacted (and lowered) the cost of travel. One helpful policy change was when the airlines agreed to suspend change and cancellation fees for customers. Now that vaccinations and looming herd immunity are seemingly around the corner, will the airlines revert to the old, inflexible ways?

Some Think Flexible Airline Tickets Are Here to Stay

There’s a school of thought that says the pandemic ushered in a new era for the airlines and that they won’t likely reverse what’s seen as a positive customer service initiative in a time when solid customer support is sorely lacking. Of course, as far as this school of thought goes, the airlines have a myriad of ways to collect fees. They could say that the fees are gone for good, but simply raise flight prices slightly to cover that policy so they don’t lose any money.

In recent years, more airlines have gone to an ‘a la carte’ ticket structure anyway, so you pay a base fee for the ticket (in some cases) and add on other options – like premium seats or a free checked bag – to have a more custom experience.

Also, even though airlines don’t charge a flat cancellation or change fee right now, you’re still on the hook for any change in price for a ticket that you plan to rebook. So there’s that.

Others Suggest Airline Cancellation Fees Will Be Back Again

On the other side of the argument, some industry insiders are speculating that the airlines will quickly slap those change and cancellation fees back on tickets just as soon as it’s safe to do so. It’s an additional revenue stream for the airlines, and no one can argue that the industry took a huge hit in 2020. Would you really be surprised if they brought those fees back?

We’re just not sure which way the chips are going to fall on this one. If you have a trip on the horizon you can buy ahead now knowing that ticket is changeable.

If it’s important that you buy a ticket with free changes built in, it could be a good idea to buy sooner rather than later. After all, if you buy now you know you can change if you need to do so for free. If you wait until later this year, you might be stuck with a different deal.

How do you feel about this possibility? If the airlines started charging change and cancellation fees would it be upsetting? Irritating but not surprising? Fine with you and expected? Let us know how you’re feeling in the comments section.

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Will U.S. Airlines Soon Require a Negative COVID Test for Domestic Flights?

In recent weeks there’s been a flurry of new rules and regulations that have come out around international air travel and COVID-19.

suitcase with covid testing

From requiring a negative COVID test (or antibody test) for all travelers on inbound international flights, to mandatory 14-day self-quarantines (this one is part of a new Executive Order from the Biden administration and is currently under review by the Health and Human Services Secretary).

So far, U.S. states have been given the autonomy to decide how to handle domestic travelers, with some states issuing quarantine orders and others allowing travelers to decide what is best for them.

In any event, we’re wondering if the airlines will soon implement the requirement of a negative COVID test to take a domestic flight? Already, we’ve seen airlines in other countries (like Qantas in Australia) step up and mandate a negative viral test.

While the list of airports offering COVID-19 testing is growing, to date there hasn’t been a mandate for domestic flights and testing or a move by the airlines to require it. The CDC recommends people test within 72 hours of a domestic flight departure, and also a 7-day self-quarantine when you return home. The CDC also suggests a post-trip COVID test 3 to 5 days after your trip concludes. If these were to become rules rather than suggestions, would it impact your likelihood of traveling?

For now, this is a hypothetical question. Sound off in the comments below and let us know how you’d feel if the airlines were to implement additional testing requirements for domestic air travel. Do you think this move would be great for public health and you’d applaud it, or would you see this as an infringement on your personal freedoms?

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21 Small Towns to Visit in 2021

In 2021, U.S. travelers are looking for smaller towns to visit. At least for the short term, homey and folksy are in vogue. You can avoid crowds, explore the great outdoors, and experience somewhere new – and aren’t we all in need of a change of scenery these days? In honor of the new year, here are our 21 top small town picks for 2021!

Taos, New Mexico

taos, new mexicoTaos has a long history of being a place for artists and visionaries. The history and culture is celebrated, through the intersection of Pueblo, Mexican and Spanish peoples. In the 1920’s writers such as D.H. Lawrence settled in Taos, setting in motion a tradition that endures today. Visit Taos Plaza, the UNESCO World Heritage Site Taos Plaza or explore the surrounding mountain communities.

Getting There:
Taos does have an airport, but it only has service for private and charter planes. Santa Fe has limited commercial service, so your best (and most economical) bet is to fly into Albuquerque and rent a car. There is normally shuttle service year round to Taos, but COVID has temporarily put that on pause. Renting a car is inexpensive and the scenic drive will take you through Santa Fe and on to Taos in 2.5 hours.

Cannon Beach, Oregon

cannon beach oregonRugged, natural beauty is the reason to visit Cannon Beach. It’s a bit out of the way, but we promise you won’t be let down. IN fact, it’s so beautiful that Hollywood regularly uses Cannon Beach for some of its films. The Twilight movies, the Goonies and Point Break were all filmed on the sandy shores of Cannon Beach with the iconic Haystack Rock as background.

Getting There:
Fly into Portland and make the drive yourself. It will take you about 1.5 hours to get there!

Coeur d’Alene, Idaho

coeur d'alene idahoThe little town called “the lake city” or sometimes just “CDA” by locals has so much to recommend it to outdoor enthusiasts. There are many hiking trails and some lovely outdoor public spaces (check out the waterfalls in McEuen Park) to explore. Summer is the main season for festivals, and most of them are family-friendly.

Getting There:
Coeur d’Alene is just 30 minutes drive from Spokane International Airport in Washington.

Leavenworth, Washington

leavenworth washingtonThe little hamlet of Leavenworth is modeled after a Bavarian village. Located in the Cascade Mountains in central Washington, October brings out an authentic-ish Oktoberfest for locals and visitors alike. Beer not your thing? Ospreys and eagles live in Waterfront Park – some majestic bird watching could be in your future.

Getting There:
Leavenworth is about 1.5 hours drive from Seattle Tacoma International Airport.

Eureka Springs, Arkansas

eureka springs arkansasNestled in the Ozarks, Eureka Springs is known for its natural hot springs as well as the lovely Victorian buildings in the Historic District. The town itself is designated on the National Register of Historic Places due to the extraordinary architecture.

Getting There:
The two nearest airports are Fayetteville (30 minutes drive) and Little Rock (2-2.5 hours drive).

Finger Lakes, New York

finger lakes new yorkOk, ok. So technically the Finger Lakes aren’t a town, per se. They are, however, a group of 11 lakes in western New York. Aside from the natural beauty, the Finger Lakes is the largest wine-producing region in New York. If you’re into it you might check out one of the more than 100 wineries and vineyards.

Getting There:
Ithaca is the nearest airport (30 miles) but has limited service. Buffalo International Airport is about 90 miles from the Finger Lakes.

Fernandina Beach, Florida

fernandina beach floridaFernandina Beach is on lovely little Amelia Island. This is the perfect getaway if you’re just looking to relax and while away the days. If you get tired of lounging, Fernandina Beach also has cute boutiques to shop in and fine dining options for vacationers.

Getting There:
While there is a municipal airport servicing Fernandina Beach, most visitors will want to fly into Jacksonville, which is just a 45 minute drive.

Canton,Ohio

canton ohioBring the football fanatic in your life to Canton, home to the Pro Football Hall of Fame. After many years of decline, in recent years, Canton has seen a bit of a renaissance in its downtown area. Now, visitors are treated to a bustling arts and dining scene. Outside of Canton proper, there are many Amish communities who seem to live outside of modern times.

Getting There:
The nearest airport is Cleveland International, which is about an hour away by car.

Biloxi, Mississippi

biloxi mississippiSituated right on the Gulf of Mexico, Biloxi has a long history of being a great place to gamble. There are eight 24-hour casinos/hotels in Biloxi. When and if you tire of the tables, you can experience some of the finest sport fishing along the north coast of the gulf.

Getting There:
The Gulfport-Biloxi International Airport is just up the road.

Burlington, Vermont

burlington vermontEven though Burlington is the most populated city in Vermont, it’s still a quaint little hamlet. Burlington sits on Lake Champlain, and as a college town, has a youthful and bohemian edge. Burlington has a thriving local music and food scene.

Getting There:
Burlington has its own International Airport.

Asheville, North Carolina

asheville north carolinaWith every passing year it gets harder and harder to put Asheville in the small town category. Asheville has become quite a popular destination in recent years due to its beautiful backdrop of the Blue Ridge mountains and thriving arts and microbrew scene.

Getting There:
Greenville-Spartanburg Airport is about a 1.5-2 hour drive from Asheville.

Portland, Maine

portland mainePortland is an awesome place to visit, especially in the summer. It’s a wonderful base for touring Casco Bay. Ferry service will allow you to explore some of the surrounding islands, and there are many great places to experience local seafood.

Getting There:
Portland is about a two hour drive from Boston’s Logan Airport.

Plymouth, Massachusetts

plymouth massachusettsHistory buffs who want to get a firsthand look at where the American experiment began will adore Plymouth. Along with some of the standard New England staples – quaint downtown, charming locals, lots of seafood – you’ll be treated to a full-size replica of the Mayflower in Pilgrim Memorial State Park. Come for the history, stay for the good vibes.

Getting There:
Boston’s Logan Airport is about 30 minutes from Plymouth by car.

Monterey, California

monterey californiaMonterey was once the center of the sardine-packing industry, as immortalized in John Steinbeck’s novella, “Cannery Row.” These days, it’s a great spot to bring the whole family. The Monterey Bay Aquarium is one of the foremost aquariums in the U.S., and the dining options are varied and plentiful.

Getting There:
Monterey is virtually surrounded by good airport options. San Jose is under an hour away, with San Francisco and Oakland airports right around 1.5 to 2 hours from the town (depending on traffic).

Colorado Springs, Colorado

colorado springs coloradoA lot of other Colorado cities may be flashier and trendier, but Colorado Springs has much to recommend it, much of it in the nature surrounding the town. Colorado Springs is at the foot of the Rocky Mountains. A few of the must-visit spots include Pikes Peak, Garden of the Gods Park, and the Broadmoor Seven Falls.

Getting There:
Colorado Springs does have a small airport, but Denver International Airport is the most economical way to get to the town and it’s only about an hour’s drive away.

Ketchikan, Alaska

ketchikan alaskaThis popular city with the cruise crowd faces the “Inside Passage,” which is a series of glaciers and stunning scenery. The town is also notable for the many totem poles throughout, as well as its rich wildlife – bears, wolves and bald eagles.

Getting There:
There is an airport in Ketchikan with service to other Alaskan cities and some cities in the lower 48 as well.

Hilton Head, South Carolina

hilton h ead south carolinaKnown for its beautiful “sugar” beaches and world class golf resorts, Hilton Head is a great spot for families and couples. There are seven beaches on Hilton Head island, but by far the most popular is Coligny Beach, which has a ton of shopping and dining options. Aside from the beaches you can rent bicycles or visit one of the island’s wildlife preserves.

Getting There:
While Hilton Head does have a small airport, more people fly into Savannah (about a 45 minute drive away).

Warsaw, Indiana

warsaw indianaThis little town only has about 13,000 residents so it definitely retains a classic small town vibe. What to do in this classic small town? Visit one of the spots on the National Register of Historic Places if you like. Otherwise, just rest, relax and wander.

Getting There:
Fort Wayne is the closest airport to Warsaw. You can get there by car in a little under an hour or so. Chicago Midway is about 1.5-2 hours from the town.

Kanab, Utah

kanab utahKanab sits just over the border from Arizona on Kanab Creek and has some amazing natural scenery, including towering sandstone cliffs. The town is also just 45 minutes from the spectacular Bryce Canyon and is just outside the east entrance to Zion National Park. It’s a great base to explore places like Page, Arizona, the slot canyons of Antelope Canyon and even the Grand Canyon if you want to head a bit further south.

Getting There:
Kanab is a remote location. McCarren Airport in Las Vegas is the closest airport and it’s about a 2.5 hour drive.

Lake Tahoe, California

lake tahoe californiaThis destination truly does have something for everyone. In the summer there’s water sports, hiking and cycling. In the winter, arguably the best skiing in California. And throughout all seasons – casinos for those of us who like to roll the dice.

Getting There:
Lake Tahoe is equidistant from Sacramento or Reno International airports. So take your pick! It’s about an hour and a half from each.

Key West, Florida

key west floridaRomantic Key West is a colorful, whimsical little town at the tip of the southernmost point of the continental United States (technically Hawaii gets the award for the most southern point). Key West is inhabited by a cast of characters straight out of a novel – everyone is a little wild and a little weird. We love Key West for just these reasons – it’s fun, it’s a little off kilter and you can’t beat the views.

Getting There:
Though Key West does have its own international airport, we recommend flying into Miami International Airport and driving down on the stunning Overseas Highways, for a once in a lifetime experience.

Book Your Flight

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Did President Biden Implement a 14 Day Quarantine for Returning International Travelers?

As one of his first official actions in office, last week President Biden issued an Executive Order that, on the face of things, seemed to complicate your return home from an international trip.

family at airport wearing masks

We took a deep dive into this Executive Order to see what all the fuss (and confusion) is about.

First, the President has NOT mandated quarantine at the federal level for returning U.S. citizens despite what some outlets are reporting. Some states already have quarantine restrictions in place for incoming flights, so please make yourself aware of those before embarking on any international or domestic air travel..

The President’s Order does require incoming passengers to have a negative PCR test taken within 48 hours of departure, but countries that do not have easily accessible testing centers are exempt. Make sure you’re clear on how your particular trip will be impacted. We can offer guidance to our customers with questions to make sure you’re not inconvenienced on your return, or you can also reach out directly to the airline.

The quarantine portion of the Executive Order asks the HHS Secretary to put together a plan to present to the President that would include “CDC-recommended periods of self-quarantine or self-isolation after a flight to the United States from a foreign country” and it would still need to be “appropriate and consistent with applicable law.”

The wording in the order would seem to suggest that any quarantine implemented would be self-regulated (for U.S. citizens anyway).

In any event, the situation is still quite fluid, so we’ll keep you up to date as we get more information and as the President’s COVID-related policies come into sharper focus. In the meantime, we are here for you to answer all your questions and keep you safe while you travel.

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How to Get a Rapid COVID-19 Test at Los Angeles International Airport (LAX)

Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) is the latest airport to offer Covid-19 rapid testing on site provided by Clarity Labs.

family at airport wearing masks

Here’s what you can expect:

  • Testing is open to all travelers (both departing and arriving)
  • There are three testing locations:

Terminal 6 Primary Lab
Located across from Terminal 6 on the Lower/Arrivals level.
Open from 8:00am to 6:00pm.
Test results from 3-5 hours.

Terminal 2 Satellite Lab
Located at Lower/Arrivals Level baggage claim area.
Open from 8:00am to 7:00pm.
Test results within 24 hours.

Tom Bradley International Terminal Satellite Lab
Located at Upper/Departures level at the check-in counters located in Aisle C, along the north side of the terminal.
Open from 8:00am to 7:00pm.
Test results within 24 hours.

  • Walk-ins are accepted (pending demand), but appointments are strongly encouraged. You can make an appointment online here.
  • The standard PCR test costs $125.
  • You will receive an itemized receipt to submit to your insurance provider for reimbursement (if the test is covered by your insurance).

For more information about air travel safety, read the CheapAir.com Covid tips blog post.

Current as of January 14, 2021

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The Airports Offering Rapid COVID-19 Testing

As COVID-19 vaccines become more widely available over the next weeks and months, the airline industry has stepped up to bridge the gap.

family in airport with masks

To help minimize the mandatory 14-day quarantine that some destinations require for incoming visitors, you can now test for COVID at the airport. More and more airports now offer preflight COVID-19 testing to travelers so you can show proof of negative COVID-19 at check-in. Here’s the list of participating airports and the details you need.*

Boston Logan International  (BOS)

Bradley International (BDL)

Charleston International (CHS)

Chicago O’Hare International (ORD)

Denver International Airport (DEN)

Los Angeles International (LAX)

Newark Liberty International (EWR)

John F. Kennedy International (JFK), New York

LaGuardia Airport (LGA), New York

Oakland International (OAK)

Orlando International (MCO)

Phoenix Sky Harbor International (PHX)

Seattle-Tacoma International (SEA)

Tampa International International (TPA)

*Current as of January 15, 2021. This list will be updated as information becomes available.

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U.S. Will Require Negative COVID-19 Test for Travelers on Incoming International Flights

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) announced a new requirement for incoming air travelers to show proof of a negative COVID-19 test before boarding any inbound flight to the United States.

covid 19 airport testing

Travelers will need to show proof of a viral test within three days of their flight. The policy will be implemented  on January 26, 2021. Those who don’t produce documentation of a negative lab test, or proof of recovery from COVID-19 infection, or do not wish to comply won’t be permitted to board.

The measure is designed to slow the spread of the virus while the U.S. ramps up vaccination efforts amid a surge in new cases.

While the airline industry has been at the forefront of mitigation efforts and flying has largely been seen as a safe way to travel, this additional policy should help keep airports and aircraft safer while vaccinations get implemented and we build toward herd immunity.

This is a developing story. As CheapAir receives new information, we will update you here on the blog.

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American’s Fare Classes Explained

Happy New Year, travelers! We’re continuing the blog series we started last year on how to understand the airlines’ various ticket types.

airplane taking off

We’ve heard from customers that this has been helpful for shoppers in comparing fares so they can be informed and buy smart. This month we’re looking at American. You can also look at our past post that covers United.

Basic Economy:

American positions its Basic Economy as a ticket for travelers who look for the “lowest price.” It promises a comfortable journey in the Main Cabin with free snacks, soft drinks and inflight entertainment, albeit with some important restrictions and limitations.

What’s Included:
  • Seat assignments for a fee at time of booking or free seat will be assigned at check-in
  • Seat width ranges from 16”-18” depending on aircraft, Pitch varies from 30” – 32” depending on aircraft
  • One personal item and one carry-on
  • Complimentary beverage and meal/snack service*
  • Eligible for upgrades
What’s Not Included:
  • Generally speaking – no changes! The current Covid-19 situation has caused the airline to relax this rule, however. At least for the time being, you can change a ticket or even cancel without penalty
  • No seat changes once you’ve boarded (you can pay for an upgrade in advance)
  • Group and family seating (unless you purchase seat assignments in advance)
  • Free checked bags – you must pay fee depending on trip route

Main Cabin:

Essentially, Main Cabin gives travelers all the same inflight services and amenities as in Basic Economy without restrictions.

What’s Included:
  • Free seat assignments at time of booking
  • Seat width ranges from 16”-18” depending on aircraft, Pitch varies from 30” – 32” depending on aircraft
  • One personal item
  • One carry-on bag
  • Complimentary beverage and meal/snack service*
  • Eligible for upgrades
What’s Not Included:
  • Preferred or Main Cabin Extra seating available as upgrade.
  • Free checked bags – you must pay a fee depending on trip route

Main Cabin Extra:

American characterizes Main Cabin Extra as having “a little more of everything,” which we think sums it up nicely.

What’s Included:
  • Seats at the front of Main Cabin, offering extra legroom with pitch varying between 34” – 38” depending on aircraft and seat width averaging from 16” – 18”
  • One personal item
  • One carry-on bag
  • Priority boarding after Elite members and early access to overhead bins
  • Complimentary beer, wine and spirit as well as meal/snack service*
  • Eligible for upgrades

Premium Economy:

Premium Economy is described by American as “an elevated travel experience.” Tickets are available on the following aircraft: 777-300s, 787-8s (international flights and those flying to Arizona), 787-9s, A330-200s, and 777-200s.

What’s Included:
  • Wider seats (18.5” – 19”) situation just behind Flagship, Business and First.
  • Leather seats with extendable foot and head rests. Pitch 38”
  • Priority check-in, security and boarding privileges
  • Get your bags first when you land
  • One personal item
  • One carry-on bag
  • Chef-inspired meal service with complimentary alcoholic beverages*
  • Free, personal on-demand entertainment with larger monitors and noise-canceling headphones
  • USB ports and power outlets at every seat
  • Premium amenities from Baxter of California and STATE bags
  • Casper sleep sets

Business:

American promises the “highest level of service: on shorter international flights still offers Business Class as its gateway to a truly premium flight experience with a lot of extra perks included.

What’s Included:
  • Seat pitch varies from 36” to lie-flat depending on aircraft. Seat width varies from 20” – 21”
  • Priority check-in, security and boarding privileges with “Five-Star Service” available for a fee in select markets
  • Get your bags first when you land
  • Access to Flagship Lounge in select hub cities and access to Admirals Club in others
  • One personal item
  • One carry-on bag
  • Chef-inspired larger menu for meal service with complimentary alcoholic beverages, including . wine pairings*
  • Free, personal on-demand entertainment with larger monitors and noise-canceling headphones
  • USB ports and power outlets at every seat
  • Complimentary pillows and blankets

First:

The highest level of service available domestically.

What’s Included:
  • Priority check-in, security and boarding privileges (first boarding group) with “Five-Star Service” available for a fee in select markets
  • Get your bags first when you land
  • Access to Flagship Lounge in select hub cities and access to Admirals Club in others
  • Seat pitch varies from 36” to lie-flat depending on aircraft. Seat width varies from 20” – 21”
  • One personal item
  • One carry-on bag
  • Chef-curated menu by Julian Barsotti with complimentary alcoholic beverages, including wine pairings*
  • Free, personal on-demand entertainment with larger monitors and noise-canceling headphones
  • USB ports and power outlets at every seat
  • Complimentary pillows and blankets

Flagship Business:

Flagship Business offers discerning travelers an elevated experience for long distance travel on aircraft with lie flat seats

What’s Included:
  • Priority check-in, security and boarding privileges (first boarding group) with “Five-Star Service” available for a fee in select markets
  • Get your bags first when you land
  • Access to Flagship Lounge in select hub cities and access to Admirals Club in others. Arrivals lounge available at London Heathrow
  • One personal item
  • One carry-on bag
  • Chef-curated menus by James Beard Foundation with complimentary alcoholic beverages, including wine pairings*
  • Free, personal on-demand entertainment with larger monitors and noise-canceling headphones
  • USB ports and power outlets at every seat
  • This is Ground amenity kits
  • Casper sleep set

Flagship First:

Flagship First offers discerning travelers an elevated experience for long-haul international travel on Boeing 777-300 aircraft

What’s Included:
    • Private check-in available in select cities.
    • Priority security and boarding privileges (first boarding group)
    • Get your bags first when you land
    • Access to Flagship Lounge in select hub cities and access to International First Class Lounges and Admirals Club in others. Arrivals lounge available at London Heathrow
    • “Five-Star Service” available for a fee in select markets
    • Lie flat seats with aisle access
    • One personal item
    • One carry-on bag
  • Chef-curated menus by James Beard Foundation with complimentary alcoholic beverages, including wine pairings*
  • Free, personal on-demand entertainment with larger monitors and Bang and Olufson headphones
  • USB ports and power outlets at every seat
  • This is Ground amenity kits
  • Casper sleep set

Covid Policies
*Please check American’s Covid-19 page for a comprehensive list of modifications to on-board service and airport protocols in place to protect passengers at this time.

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Emotional Support Animals Banned on American Airlines

Well, that didn’t take long! After Alaska Airlines announced they would ban all “emotional support animals” from free in-cabin flights, we wondered who would be the next commercial air carrier to join them.

service dog with owner

American Airlines announced yesterday that they too would limit service animals to specially trained canines. The policy goes into effect on Monday, January 11 – the same day the new Department of Transportation (DOT) guidelines go into effect.

Travelers are required to document their dog’s temperament, training and health by completing an online DOT form at least two days prior to their travel date. Exceptions will be allowed for tickets purchased last minute. 

Non-service animals will be permitted to fly in the cabin so long as the carrier fits under your seat. Animals in this category are flying as pets and are subject to a $125 fee. Make sure you do your due diligence before booking, as some destinations are not currently allowing pets and American has suspended animals in the cargo hold indefinitely due to pandemic modifications. 

It seems only a matter of time before the rest of the airlines take the same steps. We’ll keep you posted.

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Alaska Airlines is First Carrier to Ban Emotional Support Animals

Last month, we brought you the news that the Department of Transportation (DOT) was changing the rules about what constitutes an “emotional support animal.”

two dogs on top of orange suitcase

Effective January 11, 2021, only trained dogs can be categorized as service animals and the new ruling gives the airlines discretion as to which animals they can permit on board, effectively closing the “emotional support animal” loophole that meant some people would bring along their emotional support hamsters, peacocks, and even a random kangaroo here and there. This past week, Alaska Airlines became the first to ban “emotional support animals” outright from their flights, and wasted no time in implementing the change, which goes into effect on January 11 for new bookings. February 28, 2021 is the last day emotional support animals will be permitted on board to accommodate folks who have existing bookings.

Alaska had been looking for a way to restrict emotional support animals for years now, citing often unruly and untrained, sometimes exotic creatures that could be a safety threat to passengers and crew members. Numerous physical altercations with flight crews, damage to cabins and even injuries were cited in the Alaska Airlines announcement.

Alaska will still allow trained service dogs who serve owners battling psychiatric conditions such as anxiety, depression, bipolar disorder, panic attacks, etc. The pooches will require service training and certification, and have all vaccinations in order to accompany their handler. Each person with service dogs will be permitted to travel with up to two qualified dogs.

Pets (dogs, cats, birds, and rabbits) are still permitted to fly in the passenger cabins, so long as they are in a regulation carrier. Pets are subject to a fee ($100 each way).

With this announcement, we’re wondering which airlines might be next. Will Alaska’s announcement make you more or less likely to fly with them? Tell us in the comments below.

Update 1/6/2021: American Airlines became the second airline to join Alaska Airlines in banning most emotional support animals from the main cabin. 

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