Emotional Support and Service Animals – Airline Policies and How They are Changing

emotional support dog on airplane


Airline pet policies on flying with emotional support and service animals are changing, and now the Department of Transportation (DOT) is considering changes to the Airline Carrier Access Act (ACAA) and its
implementing regulation, 14 CFR Part 382 (Part 382) in order to address the issues that airlines have recently been facing – lack of training, the use of false credentials and the variety of animal species whose owners claim protection under this legislation.

During the process of collecting public comment, DOT has permitted the airlines to specify what type of animals they will allow as emotional support animals and those they will not. An airline  group, Airlines for America, is suggesting that service animals be defined as “trained dogs that perform a task or work for an individual with a disability,” which would eliminate untrained emotional support animals from flying under the ACAA.

Some of the other changes that are being considered include policies that would distinguish between different types of animals, whether or not that they will need to travel in pet carriers, whether to limit the number of animals allowed per passenger, and whether to require all service animals have been trained to behave in a public setting.

Currently, Title 14 Code of Federal Aviation Regulations § 382.117 dictates that the airline “must permit the service animal to accompany the passenger with a disability at any seat in which the passenger sits, unless the animal obstructs an aisle or other area that must remain unobstructed to facilitate an emergency evacuation.” Airlines may choose not to transport service and emotional support animals that are not socialized and trained to behave properly in close surroundings. Pet owners are expected to control their animals at all times when flying.

What is unclear is the species of the animal protected by this legislation, the type of disability, and the amount of information that must be disclosed to the airlines. Because of these gray areas, many of these protections have been extended to those who may not not truly qualify for them.

UPDATE: August 8, 2019
The Department of Transportation has issued a clarification to the ACAA in response to airline restrictions made for ESAs. The DOT rulings addressed the following points; 

  • Airlines cannot discriminate against certain breeds of ESAs (as Delta did against Pit Bulls)
  • Airlines cannot dictate the duration of the flight that ESAs would be allowed. 
  • Airlines must allow up to 3 assistance animals per passenger, however they can limit the number of ESAs to one. 
  • Airlines must allow miniature horses as service animals on their flights. (This is not a new rule.)

Later this year (2019), the Department of Transportation plans to issue a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) on service (and emotional support) animals. The NPRM would address the definition of a service animal and include safeguards to ensure safety for other passengers and flight crews. Additionally, the changes would reduce the likelihood that passengers traveling with their pets on aircraft will not be able to falsely claim their pets are service or emotional support animals when they are not. More information on this to come.

UPDATE: January 22, 2020
The Department of Transportation has issued a Notice of Rulemaking Change (NRMC) regarding several amendments to the Airline Carrier Access Act. The first would be to align the definition of a service animal to that defined in the Americans with Disabilities Act which is published by the Department of Justice (DOJ) which specifies a service animal as a dog that is individually trained to do work or perform tasks for the benefit of a qualified individual with a disability, including a physical, sensory, psychiatric, intellectual, or other mental disability. 

Additionally, the amendment will require that all passengers flying with service dogs submit forms developed by DOT in advance of travel which will reflect pre-training and socialization. All service animals will need to be “harnessed, leashed or otherwise tethered.” Larger service animals and effects to in-cabin operations and the safety and welfare of other passengers and the crew will be considered as well as who is responsible for the damage they may cause to the aircraft. More information on the NRMC. 

For the purposes of this post, service animals are defined as animals who have been trained to assist physically disabled passengers suffering from mobility issues, visual impairments, seizures, hearing issues, issues resulting from diabeties or other physical issues. Emotional support animals are those who assist passengers with emotional, psychiatric, cognitive or psychological disabilities and have not received specialized training.

On all airlines, service animals should be fully trained, clearly identified and leashed or harnessed. They will sit at their handler’s feet without protruding into the aisle or causing other safety concerns. Service animals in training may or may not be accepted by an airline under these regulations. Trained service dogs accompanied by their trainers and being delivered to their owners also may or may not fall under these regulations depending on airline policies. Therapy animals, rescue dogs and dogs providing immigration services such as drug or bomb detection are not accepted under these regulations.

Emotional support animals are permitted to sit in their owner’s laps if small enough not to touch any part of the seat and do not interfere or prevent other passengers from using seat amentities. They should be socialized and trained to behave around other people and pets, especially in small confines. Their owners should travel with proper documentation clearly identifying their licensed physician or medical professional, stating that they have a documented condition listed in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders that necessitates that their pet travel with them and dated within a year of flight departure.

In both cases, animals are not permitted to sit in exit row seats. They are not permitted to fly in the seat next to their owner. They are not permitted to sit on the tray table. Owners should be prepared to demonstrate that they are prepared to handle the service/emotional support animal’s hygienic needs on flights over 8 hours in duration. Some airlines will require that a sanitation form is completed prior to travel.

Additionally, notification must be provided and permission granted in advance for countries that require that all live animals arriving by air to arrive as checked baggage or air cargo in the hold of the aircraft. (United Kingdom, Ireland, Australia, India, New Zealand and others)

It is also important to note that both service and emotional support animals are subject to the same requirements when flying internationally as other animals of their species. Owners should be prepared to present rabies and health certificates and all other documentation required by the airline or their destination country upon check-in.

Here are some of the new (and old) regulations regarding service and emotional support animals. For the most part, regulations concerning service dogs have not changed. Note that we will make every attempt to update this post when regulations change. We will also be adding addendums to this post with regulations from other airlines.

Delta Airlines

UPDATE:  The Department of Transportation has rejected Delta’s ban of Pit Bulls as service or emotional support animals as their regulations do not address specific dog breeds. Note that the airline may still reject any dog that shows aggressive behavior.

UPDATE: Delta will now allow ESAs on flights over 8 hours; however, Pit Bull breeds continue to be banned as emotional support animals.

Owners of trained service animals are encouraged but not required to provide a signed Veterinary Health Form and/or an immunization record (current within one year of the travel date) through a Service Animal Request form to the Support Desk via Delta.com at least 48 hours in advance of travel. As of December 18, 2018, puppies and kittens will not be accepted on Delta flights as service animals.

Owners of emotional support animals must submit an Emotional Support Psychiatric Service Animal Request form which requires a letter prepared and signed by a doctor or licensed mental health professional, and a signed Confirmation of Animal Training form to Delta’s Service Animal Support Desk via Delta.com at least 48 hours in advance of travel. Additionally, a copy of vaccination records may be provided in lieu of the Veterinary Health Form as long as the vaccination dates and veterinary office information are included.

Only one emotional support animal per passenger is permitted. Puppies and kittens under 4 months of age will not be accepted as emotional support animals. 

The following animals will not be accepted as trained service or emotional support animals: hedgehogs, ferrets, insects, rodents, snakes, spiders, sugar gliders, reptiles, amphibians, goats, non-household birds (farm poultry, waterfowl, game bird, & birds of prey), animals improperly cleaned and/or with a foul odor, or animals with tusks, horns or hooves.

United Airlines

United will accept service animals (cats, dogs and miniature horses only) in the cabin at no charge. No documentation is required; however, notice should be given as employees can provide any equipment you may need.

Emotional support animals must be over 4 months of age to be eligible to fly as an emotional support animal.  Cats and dogs are acceptable; however, other animals will be considered on a case by case basis. Owners of emotional support animals must submit documentation from a licensed medical/mental health professional, a Passenger Confirmation of Liability and Emotional Support/Psychiatric Service Animal Behavior and a veterinary health form completed by a licensed veterinarian at least 48 hours of travel. These forms must be submitted to the United Airlines Accessibility Desk by email (uaaeromed@united.com) including first departure date and the flight confirmation (a six-character alphanumeric code) in the subject line. Pet owners must retain the original forms in their possession while traveling and be prepared to present them to airline representatives if requested. United will be contacting your mental health care professional to validate the documentation.

American Airlines

Service animals are accepted on American Airlines flights at no charge.

After July 1, 2018, American Airlines will require that owners of emotional support animals must provide their Special Assistance Desk with a Mental Health Professional Form, Behavior Guideline Form, and an Animal Sanitation Form (only required if your flight is scheduled to be over 8 hours) at least 48 hours before their flight. All documentation will be verified.

Effective April 1, 2019, American Airlines will only allow only one service or emotional support dog or cat per passenger. They will allow miniature horses in addition to dogs and cats as service animals. All service and emotional support animals must be a minimum of 4 months of age and fully vaccinated for rabies.

The following animals and birds will not be accepted as service or emotional support animals on American Airlines’ flights: amphibians, ferrets, goats, hedgehogs, insects, reptiles, rodents, snakes, spiders, sugar gliders, non-household birds (farm poultry, waterfowl, game birds, & birds of prey), animals with tusks, horns or hooves (excluding miniature horses properly trained as service animals) or any animal that is dirty or has an odor.

Air France

Guide (service) dogs are accepted as long as they are clearly marked and remain leashed. Notification 48 hours in advance is required.

Air France will require that owners of emotional support animals provide notification at least 48 hours in advance by providing a medical certificate that is less than a year old. This certificate must be provided by a mental health specialist and attest that you have regular check-ups and need to be with your dog at all times. Air France will not accept dog breeds known as dangerous as service or emotional support dogs.


Service dogs (guide dogs, hearing dogs, diabetic alert dogs, seizure alert dogs) can fly in the cabin with their handlers on all flights that Lufthansa operates.  For flights outside of the United States, a training certificate from a recognized training institute should be submitted in advance to the Lufthansa Medical Operation Centre via email or the Lufthansa Service Center. You will receive notice of approval from Lufthansa. 

Lufthansa will only recognize emotional support dogs and only on flights to or from the United States. That means that, if you have a layover in a country other than the United States on your itinerary, your dog must fly the leg that does not involve the United States in a carrier in the cabin or in the cargo hold as checked baggage for a fee.

Within 48 hours of flight departure, your service or emotional support dog must be registered with the centers referenced above and a medical certificate issued by a licensed physician confirming the need for you to be accompanied by an emotional support dog must be presented. You will receive notification of approval from Lufthansa. Two copies of this form must be presented at check-in.

Air Canada

All service dogs must be accompanied with an identification or card or other written document and be clearly identified. Notification must be provided a minimum of 48 hours prior to departure.

Emotional support dogs are recognized on flights to or from the United States and also flights with an Air-Canada operated flight through a US-based airline. Documentation for emotional support dogs must be provided to Air Canada reservations a minimum of 48 hours prior to departure and must include an original letter dated within the past year on the letterhead of a licensed mental health professional treating the passenger’s mental or emotional disability recognized by the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders. Your professional’s license information must also be provided.

British Airways

All service dogs must have been trained to assist a disabled person and certified by an organization that is a member of Assistance Dogs International or International Guide Dog Federation. Notification should be provided at least 7 days in advance. British Airways does not recognize emotional support animals.


Emirates will transport guide dogs for the blind in the cabin free of charge. Forty eight hour notice must be provided when traveling with a guide dog. Emotional support animals are not recognized.


Beginning July 1, 2018, required documentation for emotional support animals must be provided to JetBlue at least 48 hours prior to departure. This documentation will include: Medical/Mental Health Professional form issued and signed by a medical or mental health professional, Veterinary Health form completed and signed by your veterinarian and
Customer Confirmation of Emotional Support/Psychiatric Service Animal Behavior form completed by the pet owner.

Only one cat, dog or miniature horse is permitted per passenger.

Southwest Airlines emotional support policy

Southwest Airlines

Southwest Airlines will accept both service and emotional support animals in the cabin at no charge on domestic and international flights.

Dogs, cats and miniature horses who are trained to assist passengers with physical disability as well as dogs and cats who are trained to assist with mental disabilities are the only animals that will be accepted. As of September 17, 2018, other animals cannot be classified as either service or emotional support animals.

Passengers are encouraged to notify Southwest Airlines that they are flying with a service or emotional support animal. Owners should be prepared to produce evidence of their animal’s training when asked. ID cards and registry forms will not be accepted.

Emotional Support Animals Spirit AirlinesSpirit Airlines

Both service and emotional support animals are accepted on Spirit Airlines flights at no charge.

Owners of service animals may/will be asked about the service that the animal provides.

All service and emotional support animals must display good behavior. They must fly at their owner’s feet or, in the case of emotional support animals, in their lap as long as they do not interfere with cabin operations. If the animal is larger, the passenger may purchase an extra seat to accommodate for their pet’s size.

Owners of emotional support animals must have 3 forms completed and filed electronically a minimum of 48 hours ahead of departure for every flight taken on Spirit Airlines. More details on Spirit Airlines service and emotional support animals.

The following animals are not accepted as emotional support animals: snakes or other reptiles, ferrets, sugar gliders or spiders.

Allegiant Airlines

Allegiant will permit services in the cabin free of charge if they provide identification cards, tags, or other written documentation; harnesses or markings on harnesses or the credible verbal assurances of the individual with a disability using the animal.

Within 48 hours of initial departure, the following documentation must be provided for emotional support animals: letter from a mental health professional (e.g., a psychiatrist, psychologist, licensed clinical social worker, or other medical doctor on their letterhead specifically treating the passenger’s mental or emotional disability). The letter must state that the passenger has a mental or emotional health-related disability recognized in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders-Fourth Edition (DSM IV), that having the animal accompany the passenger is necessary to the passenger’s mental health or treatment or to assist the passenger with his or her disability during the flight or at the passenger’s destination.

The letter must also state that the individual providing the assessment of the passenger is a licensed mental health professional and the passenger is under his or her professional care. Information regarding the licensing of the mental health professional and the state in which the professional is licensed is required.

Swiss Airlines

Swiss Airlines will only permit emotional support animals on flights originating or terminating in the United States. For flights outside of the United States, ESAs may fly in-cabin if size permits or in the cargo hold at standard charges.

TAP Portugal

TAP Portugal Airlines

TAP Portugal Airlines accepts guide and emotional support dogs flying in the cabin with their owners at no charge. In either case, notification must be provided to TAP Portugal’s Service Center.

Guide dogs must be properly identified as service animals and with documented evidence that they have been officially trained and certified.

On flights to and from the United States, emotional assistance dogs weighing more than 8kg are accepted in the cabin. The maximum recommended weight and size is 40kg and 62cm in height (from the ground to the withers).

For flights outside of the United States, all emotional assistance dogs must fly in airline-compliant pet carriers and must not weigh more than 8 kg (17 lbs) including the weight of carrier. The carrier dimensions may not exceed 40 cm in length, 33 cm width and 17 cm height. (15 in x 12 in x 6 in) Soft-sided carriers are recommended to meet height requirements.

Owners of emotional assistance dogs must email this form to: medical.cases@tap.pt
or fax to (+351) 218 ​​416 540.



KLM will allow both guide and emotional support dogs to fly in the cabin at no charge. Other animals will be considered upon request; however, reptiles, livestock and insects will not be permitted. All animals must be leashed and guide dogs should be wear a harness or vest.

Owners of guide dogs need to submit this form to KLM prior to departure and bring original document with them.All guide and emotional support dogs must be presented at the check-in desk on the day of travel.

Owners of emotional support dogs must submit this form to KLM at least 48 hours prior to departure. A signed declaration from your physician or medical professional is required. The declaration should state that the passenger has a mental health-related disability listed in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM IV); that having the dog accompany the passenger is necessary to the passenger’s mental health or treatment, that the individual providing the assessment of the passenger is a recognized mental health care provider and the passenger is under his or her professional care, and the date and type of the health care provider’s registration and the state or other jurisdiction in which it was issued.

KLM Cares can be contacted via phone, Whatsapp or other social media outlets for pre-travel notification.

Singapore Airlines service and emotional support policySingapore Airlines

Singapore Airlines will allow service and emotional support dogs to fly in the cabin at no charge on all flights where destination countries will allow pets to enter in the cabin. Dogs must fly at your feet without affecting cabin operations. Muzzles and leashes are not required but should be available.

All service dogs should be marked with a vest or harness or other items such as an identification card identifying it as a service dog.

If your dog is an emotional support animal, you must carry documentation on the letterhead of a licensed medical professional dated within the past year supporting the need for your ESA.

No dogs included in Singapore Airlines’ banned breed list (see step #6) will be accepted as service or emotional support animals.

Owners of service and emotional support animals should contact Singapore Airlines at least 2 weeks prior to departure.



Aeroflot will permit guide dogs assisting physically disabled passengers to fly in the cabin at no charge. The passenger must present a proof of disability and a document certifying the dog’s training. If the working dog is a member of the Federal Executive Authority Canine Service, the passenger accompanying the dog must present a document certifying the special training of the working dog as well as a document proving that the passenger transporting the working dog is an employee of the Federal Executive Authority Canine Service.

Emotional support animals are not recognized.

Alaska AirlinesAlaska Airlines

Alaska Airlines will accept your service and emotional support animal without charge.

Passengers should inform the customer service representative when arriving at the airport that they are flying with a service animal. Service animals must fly at their handler’s feet and behave appropriately. Dogs, cats and miniature horses are accepted as service animals.

Owners of emotional support animals must submit 3 forms to Alaska Airlines at least 48 hours before travel: Animal Health Advisory Form, Mental Health Form and Animal Behavior Form.

Emotional support animals must be leashed or travel in an airline-compliant pet carrier, behave properly, be contained to the owner’s seat and not interfere with the adjacent passenger. Dogs and cats are accepted as emotional support animals. One animal per passenger.

Only service dogs and only cats and dogs can be transported as service or emotional support animals to Hawaii.

The following animals are not accepted as emotional support animals: Amphibians,Hedgehogs, Ferrets, Goats, Insects, Reptiles, Rodents, Snakes, Spiders, Sugar gliders, Non-household birds (farm poultry, waterfowl, game birds, and birds of prey), Animals improperly cleaned and/or foul odor, Animals with tusks, horns, or hooves (except miniature horses that are trained to behave appropriately), any unusual or exotic animals.

Service animals being delivered to their new owner are accepted at no charge on domestic flights within the United States. Documentation must be available that training was successfully completed and they must be traveling with their trainer.

Frontier Airlines LogoFrontier

Service animals are welcome to fly on Frontier Airlines flights without charge. The only animals that will be accepted as emotional support animals are dogs and cats. One ESA is permitted per passenger. Most behave appropriately around other animals and passengers and be under control of owner at all times. A Medical/Mental Health Professional Form and an Animal Behavior Acknowledgment Form must be completed and uploaded here more than 48 hours of travel. Owners should carry copies of submitted documentation with them.

Turkish Airlines

Turkish Airlines will fly both service and emotional support animals free of charge.

Service dogs must be marked as such and have proof of training and certification. 

ESAs are only accepted on flights to or from Istanbul and the United States. All ESAs that will be connecting to other flights in IST must have pet carriers or crates when boarding the initial flight and will be subject to fees imposed on other animals on flights which do not terminate or originate in the United States.

A minimum of 48 hours prior to departure, owners of ESAs must submit official documentation in English (or translated to English) on a letterhead of a licensed mental health professional who is treating the passenger’s mental or emotional disability. The document must be dated within one year from departure of the initial flight. This document shall state that the passenger has a DSM 4 or DSM 5 disability according to the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, why the passenger needs the ESA and that the passenger is under the care of a licensed medical professional. The license number and State where the license is issued must also be included.

In the case of either a service dog or an ESA, all dogs must be leashed and fly at their owner’s feet. No pets are allowed to fly on a seat. A muzzle must be available should any aggressiveness be displayed. On flights over 8 hours, owners must be able to provide written instructions regarding how they have prepared for their dog to relieve itself.  Owners also are responsible for any damage caused to the aircraft by their service animal. 

All rabies vaccination certificates and documentation from exporting and importing countries must be available at check-in.

Vueling Airlnes LogoVueling Airlines

Vueling Airlines only recognizes assistance animals trained to serve special needs. Certification of training must be provided to staff at check-in. Dogs must be at least 3 months old. Dogs must have proof of rabies vaccination no sooner than 3 months of age and more than 30 days prior to travel.

If your airline is not listed above, you can contact us at info@pettravel.com with any questions.



Emotional Support and Service Animals – Airline Policies and How They are Changing — 69 Comments

  1. Hi All. I have two ESA (cats) and need to travel to LONDON, UK next month.
    I am confused as to that only 1 ESA is allowed on board on most airlines.
    I will be traveling with my brother who can watch 1 cat but obviously doesn’t have valid certification for ESA.
    The problem is that if your animal is not classified as ESA it is not permitted as airlines don’t allow cabin pets anymore.

    Can somebody please help me unscramble this? Is there an airline that would work in my particular situation so I can take both of my cats on my trip to the UK?

    Thank you so much

  2. We would caution pet travelers that many airlines are verifying documentation for ESAs and requiring that a medical professional sign a document attesting that the ESA is trained and socialized. Those who are truly in need of an ESA should be under the care of a medical professional with a physical location in their city or town. Abuse of this protection may eventually affect those who truly need it. For this reason, we cannot support online websites that offer ESA letters to anyone who can profess to needing one.

  3. Having an Emotional support animal by your side really helps against mental problems, and I can tell you this because I have been suffering from Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and the moment when I am stressed everything feels annoying to me, I even tried to avoid thinking or talking about the traumatic events that caused me to suffer through this but It didn’t help me at all. But thanks to my pet Lucy as she is helping me every day against PTSD. Whenever I feel tired or stressed she provides support to me.
    I have to travel a lot because of my current job and I always wanted my pet to be with me for the whole time. I was confused whether Lucy is eligible for being my ESA or not, I researched it on the internet and I found a website where I got my first ESA letter from. I visited the website and asked a couple of questions from their support agent and he answered all my queries. After that, I gave a Pre-screening Test in which question-related to my Mental health and my pet were asked. They matched me with a therapist and I consulted with her via Tele-medicine, she asked me a few questions about my PTSD after understanding my problem she wrote me an ESA Letter. it’s been more than 2 months since I got my ESA Letter and since then I and Lucy have traveled with 2 different airlines for Free with my ESA letter. Overall it’s been a good experience.

  4. Mimi – the Airline Carrier Access Act protects emotional support animals; however, it does not address the handling of associated luggage. This would be the policy of the airline. As a dog carriage is very similar to a baby carriage, we do not understand why this would be burdensome to the airlines. You may want to call back and speak to a supervisor.

  5. Hello!
    I am traveling with american airlines (business) with my ESA dog. He cant walk long distances at airport terminal so he needs a stroller which i will give at airplane door to be checked . Airline said by phone that i cant rake stroller and have to check it as baggage. I think its unfair because he cant walk that far and i need the stroller until reaching the plane. Is there any law or policy that helps me?

  6. Karen – we regret your recent experience with Iceland Air. We have seen regulations for emotional support animals tighten in the past year for most airlines due to people that took advantage of the legislation in the Airline Carrier Access Act. Unfortunately, these changes have affected those who have a legitimate claim to fly with their ESA. Even most US-based airlines require some type of endorsement for training or behavior. Unfortunately, the regulations imposed by the airlines will be enforced by representatives. We can only suggest escalating your issue to a supervisor.

  7. Hi! I have flown with my Emotional Support Pet (dog 3kg) with Iceland Air twice in the past on the same route from Helsinki-Reykavik-Montreal with no issues. I booked a flight and started the process to get approval on Monday, May 27 for a Saturday, June 1st flight. Their website is a bit confusing, but it says that an Emotional Support Pet must have training certification. I did not see this new requirement before booking as I did not have to show any training certification before (as there is not an observed training certification for ESAs). I had the doctor’s form, health certification, Certificate and Registration of her as an ESA and I had received MAST approval to bring her through the airport. I, again because this is a new requirement and was not needed on my previous flights with this airline, did not see you needed BOTH the doctor’s form and a letter from the doctor saying that you are required to have your pet with you for travel.

    Long story short, I was contacted by the airline and told I needed to submit all my documents before 4pm Helsinki time today (Wed May 29) because tomorrow is a holiday and the airline needs 48 hours to verify the documents. I did not see the message until 3pm and started a back-and-forth email chain with the airline representative. I was able to get the doctor to sign a letter with the requested info and he was gracious enough to scan and send it to me before the updated deadline of 5:30pm. I sent over the doctor’s form, doctor’s letter, MAST approval and ESA registration and was told the registration would not qualify and I needed a “certificate of obedience training from a certified dog trainer”. There isn’t one place on the website that specifies I need this kind of certified training certificate. So now, I am told that I cannot get a refund of my ticket, only unused airport tax and would have to pay the difference to fly later if I can get the required “certification document”. The airline representative told me I could pay and put my ESA in the hold of the plane. That does me absolutely no good and actually triggers my PTSD because last time we flew through Reykavik there was a bloody and managed dog kennel in the pet relief area.

    My family is booked on that flight and will leave without me because we can’t afford to loose over $4,000 for the entire cost of the trip. I am stuck here not having a place to live or somewhere to go until I can get another flight home. I think this is very unfair and I have written to the customer service of Iceland Air, but I am not hopeful they will help me.

    I have looked at other airlines and do not see the training certificate signed by a certified dog trainer anywhere else. My dog has flown with me as an ESA on over 15 flights and has never once caused any issues or problems and is very quiet, calm and well behaved (she is an excellent Emotional Support Pet). Any suggestions on what I could do?

  8. Lori- you mention a direct flight with Swiss/Lufthansa. Just want to be sure you are not changing airline companies along the way. Your ESA must conform to regulations as stated here: https://www.pettravel.com/immigration/Switzerland.cfm. It is good practice to bring a leash and some pet pads for your ESA. Offer bottled water if your ESA looks at all stressed. Once landed, you will collect your luggage and clear customs with your ESA.

  9. Hi, I have an ESA with recent documentation accepted by United and American Airlines. I am flying to switzerland and driving to my destination, Germany. The flight is direct Newark, NJ to Zurich on Swiss/Luftansa. What considerations do I need to think about. ESA is 16 pounds and does not fit in a bag. She generally sits on my lap or at my feet. I will be travelling in Business class.

  10. The links for forms in the Lufthansa section are locked. It gives me this message- You don’t have permission to access this resource on the server.

  11. Susanna – many airlines, including Air Canada will only allow an ESA on flights that involve a US airport. You can try KLM as they fly from LHR to YYZ (we did not know your exact route) or consider another route that transits through the US.

  12. Hi can anyone help.. I need to travel to Canada from the Uk, and have a emotional support dog (with letter from my counsellor +gp) I had booked an air canada flight, but they have not informed me that their policy around ESA animals does not apply internationally and that my dog would have to go in the hold!!!
    Does anyone have experience of this, or know of a different airline that i can fly with him in the cabin as my esa?

  13. I know there has been a lot of problem especially in airlines due to some people who have taken advantage of the noble idea. But the thing is this shouldn’t affect the people who actually need them. As for me i am a patient to anxiety and got my terrier an esa letter a couple of months back from this website myesadoctor. People who are misusing the noble concept should stop or be stopped but without affecting the people who are in genuine need of it.

  14. Dimity – PetTravel.com is a resource of information for all types of pets traveling worldwide, primarily dogs and cats. We do not specialize in service animals except to assist those who are traveling with them as to the rules that apply in the countries they are traveling to and on the airlines they are traveling on. We would note that service animals are subject to the same regulations as are other animals with the exception of entering a country which requires quarantine. In most cases, home quarantine is arranged. As the ADA guidelines for service animals has been in effect for almost 30 years, its effects have spread to other countries including the EU, Middle and Far East which has allowed for more travel for those with disabilities. As for your questions regarding the other specifics, we cannot address those; however, there are many websites on the Internet that specialize in service animals where this information can be found.

  15. Hi, my name is Dimity lazanis, I am doing an assessment task on service animals and I was just wondering if you would be able to answer some of these interview questions.
    What does your company do ?
    What is your company’s main goal ?
    What type of people does your company cater too ?
    What is your personal experience with service animals ?
    How does your company help society ?
    In your opinion how does support between humans and animals differ ?
    How has service animals change over time ?
    How is your company making people more socially aware of service animals ?
    Has there been a rise in customers wanting service animals ?
    Do you believe that services animals are becoming more socially acceptable ?

  16. I am travelling with my ESAN (Bichon Frise) to Santiago, Chile and then onto Easter Island for 3 weeks and then coming back to California. Flying out of LAX on LATAM all the way to Easter Island and back. My dog has his rabies certificate, has been dewormed, has his health certificate signed by USDA and his chip # on the health certificate. He flies as an ESAN in the USA on United, American and Southwest frequently and I have all the documentation necessary. Will he need a health certificate from a Chilean vet to come back into the country if it’s less than 1 month?

  17. Andrea – that is great about your ESA. Many people benefit from the love and loyalty they receive from their ESA. Just know that if you fly with it, your documentation will be verified by your airline.

  18. Great article. I am so glad i got myself an emotional support animal three months back. I got my terrier a letter from this website myesadoctor and franky my life could not have been better. Now i couldnt imagine my life without him. The best decision i every made. I suffer from anxiety and since he has come into my life, honestly everything just seemed to have gotten better. I have improved in these 3 months more than i did in the past one year. Thank you for sharing the laws and regulations. Keep up the good work.

  19. Thanks for sharing the informatics news with us. Nowadays, Airplane policies are strict towards an ESA letter because of the fake ESA letter scams. You should get your letter from a qualified and licensed physician or psychotherapist is required.

  20. Airplane policies are getting stricter every passing day because of the emerging ESA letter scams. So, it’s important to obtain recommendations only from a licensed mental health professional. Otherwise, you might end up paying more instead of saving some.

  21. Lily – we will also respond to you by email but for the benefit of anyone reading this blog post, we will say that you can use the same EU health certificate you used to enter Ireland to enter France. It is good for 4 months or until your dog’s rabies vaccination expires, whichever comes first. Between one and five days of returning to Ireland, your pup will need a tapeworm treatment administered by a licensed veterinarian and recorded in the EU health certificate. Stay clear of the UK if you can until the results of Brexit negotiations are worked out.

  22. Hello, Susan!
    Thanks so much to your help, I have everything sorted with my little service dog, and he will be flying into Dublin with me in mid June. Of course, in Dublin, he will be inspected, but everything will be provided as requested. I’ve already been in touch with the airport, and he has his appointment set within five days with the veterinarian here. And I am also on the USDA stamp. In other words, everything is good to go!
    I have a new question: at some point during my stay in Dublin, I would like to travel from there to Paris. Are you aware of any potential issues doing so? But I am wondering is if, since he will already have been approved in an EU country, will we need to go through another ordeal. If so, what?
    Thank you, as ever, for your time.
    Ps. Would it be okay with you if you emailed me directly? I find it difficult to continue checking the comments here, as I am not getting any notification of replies. Thus, the length of time it takes me to reply to your responses. Dartingtrout@icloud.com

  23. Lily – I type all day and rarely cut and paste but sometimes it is better to do so. You are correct, but remember that it all started here. Change takes time. Hope you get things worked out.

  24. Hello, Mat!

    You remind me of myself with your reply – copying and pasting everything from the website, as I always do and have done so many times when my rights have been crossed! Love it, and thank you so much for your concern. I am assuming you were replying to me?
    Unfortunately, our rights with Service Animal Travel in United States don’t apply in Europe.


  25. It is agsinst the ADA to require to see any training document for a service animal. There is no regulated training to be classified a service animal. It is illegal when traveling in the IS to require documents before a flight for a service animal. You should sue the crap out of them.

    Q17. Does the ADA require that service animals be certified as service animals?
    A. No. Covered entities may not require documentation, such as proof that the animal has been certified, trained, or licensed as a service animal, as a condition for entry.

    There are individuals and organizations that sell service animal certification or registration documents online. These documents do not convey any rights under the ADA and the Department of Justice does not recognize them as proof that the dog is a service animal.

    Q7. What questions can a covered entity’s employees ask to determine if a dog is a service animal?
    A. In situations where it is not obvious that the dog is a service animal, staff may ask only two specific questions: (1) is the dog a service animal required because of a disability? and (2) what work or task has the dog been trained to perform? Staff are not allowed to request any documentation for the dog, require that the dog demonstrate its task, or inquire about the nature of the person’s disability.

    Q4. If someone’s dog calms them when having an anxiety attack, does this qualify it as a service animal?
    A. It depends. The ADA makes a distinction between psychiatric service animals and emotional support animals. If the dog has been trained to sense that an anxiety attack is about to happen and take a specific action to help avoid the attack or lessen its impact, that would qualify as a service animal. However, if the dog’s mere presence provides comfort, that would not be considered a service animal under the ADA.
    Q5. Does the ADA require service animals to be professionally trained?
    A. No. People with disabilities have the right to train the dog themselves and are not required to use a professional service dog training program.

  26. Lily – you will need to see what you airline will require in terms of documentation for your dog to fly as a service dog. There should be a pre-approval letter from the Animal Reception Center required.

  27. Hi, Susan!

    Just got ‘round to seeing your reply. I’ve been to my vet, and she said it’s best to get ticket. She’s processed a lot of these things of people going to Ireland. I’m not totally sure what you mean?

  28. Lily – best to contact the Department of Agriculture in Ireland and discuss pre-approval letter firsts before booking your ticket.

  29. Thank you, Susan!
    Now, the question of at what stage in the game do I purchase airline tickets begs to be answered. Shall I do so prior to all the rest – even before my service dog situation has been sorted? I am getting a bit concerned that the prices will rise with each passing day.

  30. Hi, Susan!

    As you probably guessed, I’ve been emailing with lots of different organisations & airlines about this. Please forgive the doubling-up. I’m actually in touch with Dublin, and I have found that Austrian Airlines will accept an ESA without needing to see accredited training. I think it’s Austrian. And I believe United, as well. And Lufthansa. If memory serves – but at this point, I’m not banking on that haha I’ll continue checking this forum, in case other replies are given, or if I’ve more questions. At this point, I’m trying to ensure that he will pass inspection at Dublin Airport. I cannot afford to be without this dog. I’m reading that he may not be allowed entry, or will be quarantined – if he doesn’t pass. I’m wanting to get assurance that, if I do EVERYthing expected as outlined on the websites (dept of agriculture site??), he will pass inspection. Yes?? If he is quarantined, what will that look like? Will I be able to stay with him? For how long is this quarantine?

  31. Lily – I have served you via email during the past few days. As you know, it is up to the airline as to whether they will accept your dog as an assistance animal. It is true that most airlines will accept seizure dogs as service animals with a medical prescription, but the UK and Ireland have a specific definition as to what an assistance dog is. Contact some US-based airlines and see if they will work with you. You should be able fly within the US with your dog; so check with airlines flying to Dublin non-stop out of JFK, Dulles or international airports on the east coast.

  32. PLEASE HELP? I am hoping you can help me. I have a neurological disorder that, when stressed at a certain level, I seize. I have a neurologist  who can confirm this. My dog has been trained by myself. And the challenge I’m facing is that we must travel from United States to Ireland in July, and the airlines I’ve looked into require certification from an ADI accredited school that he’s been trained by them. These schools are no where near Illinois, so even if I had not trained him and did have 6 months for them to, I’d be unable. My dog has been trained (by me) to repeatedly lick my face if I am severely stressed. He is trained not to bark, not to socialise, and stay by my side. He is a small dog who I hold and sits on my lap to be close to my face.
    He is also tuned to know if there is, in fact, a legitimate threat to my being, and if there is, he alerts me by showing signs of his own concern. 
    IS THERE AN AIRLINE travelling internationally that will accept him if I can provide EVERYTHING else? Because I can!

  33. Stefano – it depends on what condition that your dog is trained to serve. Simply put, if your pet is trained to address a physical disability, then generally, it is considered a service animal. if your animal is addressing a psychological disability, it is considered an emotional support animal. In most cases, they are not trained to perform these tasks.

    Delta defines an emotional support animal this way: “Emotional support animals assist those with emotional, psychiatric, cognitive or psychological disabilities” where as service animals are defined as follows: “Trained service animals receive training to assist those with visual impairment, deafness or hard of hearing, diabetes, seizures, mobility limitations or other needs.”

    If your dog is trained to address a specific disability, especially from a training organization, then you may want to file the required documentation and see what Delta says.

  34. Does Delta’s restriction for flights greater than 8 hours apply to psychiatric service animals as well as ESA. Not clear to me and not getting clear answer from them

  35. Although Lufthansa does not state in their regulations that documentation for ESA dogs must be dated within the past year, most airlines do. You can try submitting your documentation to Lufthansa to see; however, to avoid any last minute inconvenience, we would recommend that the letter be dated within the past year.

  36. I have flown with my ESA dog many times domestically (SouthWest) and it has been a wonderful help.
    My question: The letter from my Dr will expire on 12/6 and the noted license when he wrote the letter shows July 2018, i.e. his renewal is NOT on this letter. My plan is to fly Lufthansa US to Europe and back in 2019. Do I need a new letter from him?

  37. Good blog regarding airlines and usable for travelers. Thank you so much for sharing…!!!

  38. Hey This is very informative blog thanks for sharing. We are also provide American airlines phone number for customer issues.

  39. Hi Kshitij Thakur – By far the best comment I read after spending hours and hours reading on this topic. You know there are many of us who love our pets just like many humans love their children. Each airline should have a aircraft designated for at least one or two passengers. the aircraft should have a little area for the pet. And I’m sure like myself many of us are willing to pay for it and travel on a particular day when that service is available. Thanks!

  40. Anne – generally, pet fees are not refundable; however, we would suggest that you contact American Airlines and plead you case. At a minimum, American should offer you a credit, but we cannot say whether they will.

  41. Hello,

    I fly American Airlines and while I was traveling, my ESA dog had to go under surgery which should not have affected our return but there were complications.. The vet will provide letter stating my dog cannot travel. I know I can get reimbursed and such if I have health issues not allowing my return but what if it is my ESA? Would it be recognized to avoid fees for ticket change given it is for health reasons and that I cannot travel without him?

  42. Douglas – the provision of pet pads or a diaper should suffice. You should also note the reduction in food prior to flight. Pets should always stay hydrated when flying.

  43. How do I best fill out the “Animal Sanitation for 8+ hours” form?
    I have flown many times with my ESA and even on 15 hour flights he does not relieve himself.(I cut back his food and water prior to flight)
    I am filling out the new American Airlines questionnaire and I am wondering if there is a better way of answering the question: If your animal needs to relieve itself during the flight, describe how you would handle this to prevent a health and sanitation issue?

  44. Thank you very much for your comments. It may not be as much of a problem if all animals flying in the cabin were trained and socialized and serving those truly in need. The airlines take publicity seriously and judgements passed through social media (warranted or unwarranted) will likely result in additioal restrictions. Witness United Airlines. Sad for all.

  45. It’s beyond me to understand that a simple issue has been made so complicated by the airlines. It strikes me every time I travel in a Boeing 747 Jumbo Jet that there is so much space inside the cabin that 10 dogs can be easily accommodated. A simple barricade can be put to prevent pets from getting into the isle. As it is all handlers know to assist with hygiene issues. What happens when a human being vomits due to motion sickness ? Who cleans ? Why fuss so much over these lovely animals who are a tremendous support for their handlers.

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