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Alaska Airlines changes policy for emotional support animals

Alaska Airlines changes policy for emotional support animals. (KOMO News)

SEA-TAC, Wash. -- More changes are coming if you want to travel with your pet.

Alaska Airlines is the latest airline to change its policy for emotional support animals.

The airline doesn't have an issue with service dogs, but the company is changing its rules for animals who fly for emotional support.

"I heard that and I can understand certainly if it is a bird or something else. I do believe that some animals, dogs and cats, are emotional support to their people, but especially if they don't like to fly, maybe," passenger Judy Morris said.

About 150 emotional support animals travel every day on Alaska Airlines flights.

Workers say the majority of those animals don't cause any problems, but they're seeing a troubling trend in the number of incidents involving animals that are not properly trained to be in a busy airport: urinating, biting or showing aggression.

POLL: Do you think people should be allowed to fly with emotional support animals? Answer below or click here.

Earlier this year in New Jersey, a woman attempted to bring her emotional support peacock on a United Airlines flight. She even bought a seat for the animal but it was denied.

"I understand that because there are people who are allergic and wouldn't want to cause discomfort for other guests on the flight just because I want my dog with me in the seat," passenger Gabriel Velasquez said.

As of May 1, if you buy a ticket on Alaska Airlines and want to travel with an emotional support animal you must fill out three forms.

You also need signed documentation from your doctor or mental health professional.

The idea of the new rule is to increase safety for workers, passengers and service animals.

"I really don't even pay attention to them. I'm just focused on getting me and my dog on the plane and getting settled,"

If you're booked a flight on or after May 1 and plan to bring an emotional support animal, you must email or fax all the completed documents to Alaska Airlines 48 hours before your departure.

Those documents will be available on Alaska's website starting April 30.

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