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    SouthwestSouthwest Airlines has opened up its cabin doors to passengers’ furry pals, courtesy of its brand-new P.A.W.S (Pets Are Welcome on Southwest) policy, which permits small cats and dogs in cabin for a $75 fee. While P.A.W.S has triggered delight from pet owners nationwide, it’s also resulted in a whine from customers suffering from pet allergies, afraid of the inescapable dander soon-to-be onboard. Several other commercial airlines (like Jet Blue, AirTran, and United, to name a few) have allowed pets in the cabin for quite some time, however, and serious allergy problems, if they’ve been reported, have not proved to be a large enough issue to lead to cancellations of the policy. Southwest also plans to maintain a five pet-per-plane limitation to keep noise, odor, and allergies under control.

    The news of the animal addition comes along with a few new fees for “extras” in the air, including a $50 roundtrip charge for unaccompanied minors under 12 years of age (there used to be no fee), and a $50 charge for a third checked bag (raised from $25).


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    Southwest – which long prided itself in being the “no-fee airline” – has enacted P.A.W.S and the new fee policies as a means of generating extra revenue in the face of the recession’s big-hit on aviation, without punishing the everyday traveler. Happily, the fees are projected to affect only about one percent of the airlines’ overall clientele.


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    P.A.W.S and the additional fees went into effect for tickets purchased since June 1, for flights occuring on or after June 17.

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