Traveling With an Emotional Support Animal: Everything You Need to Know

Do you have an emotional support animal, or are you planning to have one?  Is traveling with an ESA allowed during this pandemic?  Everything you need to know about taking your pet with you on a flight is covered in this article.

You must bring an ESA letter as proof.

If you are trying to cope with an emotional problem, having an emotional support animal will never make you feel alone anymore.  You can bring an ESA pet anywhere and bring an ESA Letter as proof.

An ESA letter is your proof that you must be allowed to have your pet by your side, except on flights, to support your mental health.  There are added benefits like you’ll be exempt from paying pet fees, pet application fees, and deposits, except for flights.  Some places will check your proof to allow you to have your ESA.

What is an ESA letter?

An ESA letter or  Emotional Support Animal letter is proof issued by a psychologist, psychiatrist, physician, or a qualified mental health professional that qualifies someone to bring a support animal.  This letter will best serve the carrier of the animal in situations in which pets might not be permitted.

ESA Letter Providers Online

Now that you know you’ll need an ESA letter so your emotional support animal can accompany you anywhere, here are 3  ESA letter providers online. You’ll be out and moving soon with your pet tugged along!

Esa Pet

Esa Pet is for those looking for the fastest and easiest online procedure for getting your pet certified. This is for you.

It is one of the newest providers of ESA letters, but it has already garnered likes for offering the most friendly approach.  They will help you be connected directly with a mental health professional so that the ESA letter released to you is certified.

CertaPet PSA

CertaPet has been in the business for a long time; they know how to help you in this situation.  PSA letters differ from ESA letters; you need to consult a health professional before reaching out to CertaPet, but worry no more because they help with these things too.

ESA Doctors

ESA Doctors’ edge is they can certify any kind of mental health disorder as they are composed of a complete set of doctors.

These are the things you must know about ESA Regulations.

As of January 11, 2021, the discretion on ESA regulations will vary from airline to airline.  Some airlines will allow you to travel with your comfort animal, but you must pay a pet fee.

Before these new guidelines, ESA pets are classified under service animals, but now, they are no longer part of this category.  This implies that ESA is not allowed to have a spot in the cabin with their owner, even with an ESA letter from a mental health professional.

Tips for Traveling With an ESA

Traveling, which is supposed to be fun, can be stressful for people with disabilities.  However, they may take it anywhere by plane or to almost any destination if they have an ESA pet, but not within the cabin with the ESA owner.

Here are tips to make traveling with an emotional support animal stress-free.

Airlines That Allow Pet

With the revised rules released in 2020 by the Department of Transportation regarding flying with emotional support animals, it was finalized that ESAs are no longer considered service animals.  Hence, they cannot stay in the cabin with their owners for a fee; instead, they will be classified as regular pets.  Many airlines ban ESAs entirely.

These are some of the airlines that have declared that they will no longer recognize emotional support animals as assistance animals in 2021.  They will now require a pet fee.

If you are unsure about your airline’s regulations on ESA, you may contact them directly.

  • American Airlines
  • Alaska Airlines
  • JetBlue Airlines
  • Delta Airlines
  • Southwest Airlines

Summary of New Rules for ESA and Service Animals

The Department of Transportation in December 2020 released a new set of guidelines about ESA and Service Animals, which took effect in January 2021.

In summary, the guidelines cover the following:

What is a Service Animal?

A service animal is a DOG of any breed or type, specially trained to perform physical, sensory, psychiatric, intellectual, or other mental disability tasks for an individual declared to be disabled on the mentioned aspects.

What is an Emotional Support Animal?

An emotional support animal or an ESA does not perform tasks.  Hence, airlines are no longer required to recognize these animals as service animals.  They are treated as pets and must comply with each airline’s pet policy guidelines.

What is an example activity of a Psychiatric Service Animal (PSA)?

A psychiatric service animal performs a particular task, like searching a room before the person enters (person with PTSD).  This animal is to be treated the same as other service animals that are individually trained to perform a task for the benefit of a qualified individual with a disability.

What species are accepted as service animals?

Airlines are allowed to accept only dogs as service animals.

What form is required in airlines?

To be allowed to transport an individual with a service animal, they are required to have the passenger fill up a form acknowledging that it has been trained for specific tasks and compliant with the Department of Transportation’s service animal requirements.

What is the condition of transportation?

To be allowed to transport an individual with a service animal in flights of eight hours or longer, there is a condition to fill up a form acknowledging that the service animal:

  • Will not need to relieve itself
  • Can relieve itself without causing sanitary issues and must explain how

How many service animal/s per passenger?

Airlines can limit the number of service animals per passenger with a disability on a flight to two service animals.

What size is allowed for a service animal?

Only those can fit in on their handler’s lap or within the handler’s foot space on the aircraft.

How to control the service animal?

A service animal must be harnessed, leased, or tethered within the airport and on the aircraft.

Is there a particular breed or type?

Airlines are not allowed to refuse to transport a service animal with the breed as the sole reason.  It must be on the ground of an individualized assessment of the animal’s behavior and health.

What are the check-in requirements?

Airlines must not require a passenger with a disability to physically check in at the airport just because they are traveling with a service animal.  They must be allowed to use the online check-in process like ordinary passengers.

However, airlines may require them to provide the service animal forms at the passenger’s departure gate on the flight date.

Are there other requirements?

Airlines may require all forms about an individual and the service animal to be submitted 48 hours in advance of the flight date as possible.

Emma Thompson

Hi, I'm Emma Thompson. Welcome to The Pet Town! I'm a Pet lovers like you and please feel free to get in touch with any questions. Enjoy your stay!

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