Flying with Your Emotional Support Dog: Airline Guidelines to Know

Flying with Your Emotional Support Dog

If you’re flying with your emotional support dog, it’s important to be aware of airline policies and guidelines to ensure a smooth travel experience. As a dog owner, traveling with your furry companion can provide comfort and stability, but the rules and regulations surrounding emotional support animals can be confusing and stressful. Before booking your flight, it’s crucial to understand the specific guidelines in place for each airline.

Understanding the Law of Flying with Your Emotional Support Dog

The Department of Transportation (DOT) has specific regulations regarding the transportation of service animals and emotional support animals on flights. In 2020, the DOT revised their rules to allow airlines to no longer recognize emotional support animals as service animals. However, this ruling only applies to flights within the United States.

The Air Carrier Access Act (ACAA) still provides protections for individuals with disabilities traveling with emotional support animals. Under the ACAA, airlines must allow emotional support animals to travel with their owners in the cabin of the plane, free of charge, as long as they meet specific requirements.

Airlines’ Policies and Guidelines for Flying with Your Emotional Support Dog

While airlines must follow federal regulations, they may also have their own policies and guidelines for flying with Your Emotional Support Dog. It is important to research and understand these policies before booking your flight. Here are a few examples:

  • American Airlines: Only dogs and cats are recognized as emotional support animals and must meet specific requirements, including documentation and advance notice.
  • Delta Air Lines: Emotional support animals are not recognized as service animals and are subject to additional guidelines and restrictions. These guidelines include a 48-hour advanced notice requirement and specific documentation.
  • Southwest Airlines: Only dogs and cats are recognized as emotional support animals and must meet specific requirements, including documentation and advance notice.
  • United Airlines: Only dogs are recognized as emotional support animals and must meet specific requirements, including documentation and advance notice.
  • Air Canada: Only dogs are recognized as emotional support animals and must meet specific requirements, including documentation and advance notice.
  • Alaska Airlines: Only dogs and cats are recognized as emotional support animals and must meet specific requirements, including documentation and advance notice.
  • JetBlue Airways: Only dogs, cats, and miniature horses are recognized as emotional support animals and must meet specific requirements, including documentation and advance notice.
  • WestJet: Only dogs are recognized as emotional support animals and must meet specific requirements, including documentation and advance notice.
  • Allegiant Air: Only dogs and cats are recognized as emotional support animals and must meet specific requirements, including documentation and advance notice.
  • Spirit Airlines: Only dogs, cats, and miniature horses are recognized as emotional support animals and must meet specific requirements, including documentation and advance notice.
  • Frontier Airlines: Only dogs and cats are recognized as emotional support animals and must meet specific requirements, including documentation and advance notice.
  • Hawaiian Airlines: Only dogs and cats are recognized as emotional support animals and must meet specific requirements, including documentation and advance notice.
  • Porter Airlines: Only dogs are recognized as emotional support animals and must meet specific requirements, including documentation and advance notice.
  • Sun Country Airlines: Only dogs and cats are recognized as emotional support animals and must meet specific requirements, including documentation and advance notice.
  • Air Transat: Only dogs are recognized as emotional support animals and must meet specific requirements, including documentation and advance notice.
  • Volaris: Only dogs and cats are recognized as emotional support animals and must meet specific requirements, including documentation and advance notice.
  • Air North: Only dogs and cats are recognized as emotional support animals and must meet specific requirements, including documentation and advance notice.
  • Flair Airlines: Only dogs and cats are recognized as emotional support animals and must meet specific requirements, including documentation and advance notice.

Preparing Your Dog for Air Travel

Before flying with your emotional support dog, it is important to ensure that they are prepared and comfortable for the flight. Here are a few tips to help prepare for flying with your emotional support dog:

  1. Visit your veterinarian: Make sure your dog is up to date on all necessary vaccinations and has a clean bill of health for air travel.
  2. Crate training: Introduce your dog to a crate well in advance of your flight and make it a comfortable and familiar space.
  3. Practice: Take your dog on car rides or short trips to get them accustomed to travel.
  4. Exercise: Make sure your dog has had plenty of exercise before the flight to reduce stress and anxiety.

Documentation and Requirements for Flying with Your Emotional Support Dog

Airlines typically require specific documentation and requirements for flying with your emotional support dog. These may include:

  • A letter from a licensed mental health professional: This letter should confirm that you have a mental health condition and that your emotional support dog is necessary for your well-being.
  • Veterinary documentation: Your dog should be up to date on all necessary vaccinations and have a health certificate.
  • Identification: Your dog should wear identification tags with their name, your name, and your contact information.
  • Advance notice: Airlines typically require advance notice of your intention to travel with an emotional support dog.
  • An 8 digit registration code.

It is important to research and understand the specific documentation and requirements for your airline before booking your flight.

In-Flight Guidelines for Your Emotional Support Dog

Once on the flight, there are specific guidelines that must be followed to ensure the safety and comfort of all passengers. Here are a few examples:

  • Your dog must remain on the floor or your lap at all times.
  • Your dog must be well-behaved and under control at all times.
  • Your dog must not block aisles or emergency exits.
  • You may need to bring your own food and supplies for your dog, depending on the airline’s policies.

Conclusion

Traveling with your emotional support dog can be a source of comfort and stability, but it is important to navigate airline policies and guidelines to ensure a stress-free journey. Understanding the law, researching and understanding airline policies and guidelines, and preparing your dog for air travel are all important steps to take before booking your flight. Remember to check with your airline for specific requirements and to make sure your emotional support dog is up to date on all necessary vaccinations and has a clean bill of health.

Register your support dog online now to receive your instant Service Dog Registration, Service Dog certificate and Service Dog Certification Documents or Register your Emotional Support Animal for ESA Registration, ESA  Certification and Emotional Support Animal Certificate Documents

Sources:

Delta Airlines
United Airlines
American Airlines
Department of Transportation
Air Carrier Access Act (ACAA)
American Kennel Club