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Alaska Air (ALK) Arm to Soon Ban Emotional Support Animals

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Alaska Air Group’s (ALK - Free Report) subsidiary Alaska Airlines will soon put a ban on transporting emotional support animals. This follows the department of transportation’s (“DOT”) revision of the Air Carrier Access Act due to concerns raised by airlines, flight attendants, airports and individuals with disabilities among others, regarding service animals on aircraft.

With this revision, emotional support animals are no longer considered as service animals. Additionally, as per the new DOT rule, a service animal is a “dog that is individually trained to do work or perform tasks for the benefit of a person with a disability.” Consequently, airlines are no longer required to make necessary accommodations for emotional support animals, as with service dogs.

In accordance with this new rule, Alaska Airlines will only transport service dogs with effect from Jan 11, 2021. However, for tickets booked prior to Jan 11 for travel on or before Feb 28, 2021, the airline will continue with its usual policy of transporting emotional support animals. The complete ban on emotional support animals goes into effect after Feb 28.

As per the revised policy, Alaska Airlines will accept two service dogs (including psychiatric service dogs) at max for each guest in the cabin. Beginning Jan 11, customers wanting to travel with their service dogs will be required to fill up a DOT form, confirming that their animal is properly trained and vaccinated and will behave appropriately during the flight. Guests booking reservations more than 48 hours before travel would need to submit the form through an email, while those booking seats less than 48 hours prior to travel will be required to submit the form at the airport on arrival.

In the past, passengers are said to have carried a varied range of animals with them, which have caused disturbances on flight. Regarding the new rule, Alaska Airlines’ director of customer advocacy, Ray Prentice, stated, "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."

Zacks Rank & Key Picks

Alaska Air carries a Zacks Rank #5 (Strong Sell).
Some better-ranked stocks in the broader Transportation sector are ArcBest Corporation (ARCB - Free Report) , Ryder System, Inc. (R - Free Report) and Herc Holdings Inc. (HRI - Free Report) . While Ryder carries a Zacks Rank #2 (Buy), ArcBest and Herc Holdings sport a Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy). You can see the complete list of today’s Zacks #1 Rank stocks here.

Shares of ArcBest, Ryder and Herc Holdings have gained more than 57%, 16% and 29% in a year’s time, respectively.

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