Flying on American Airlines with your Emotional Support Animal

[2020 UPDATE] A Helpful Travel Guide to Emotional Support Animals

If you’ve ever flown with a dog before, you know the journey is necessary, but unpleasant; like almost flying with a baby. Or my little brother Timmy when he was six years old.

Rules for flying the family pet differ from airline to airline; some are okay with dogs (and their cages) under 20 lbs., and others say no way to any animal.

If airline travel with your canine buddy is in your future, let’s talk through your options for air travel.

Note: as always, please check with your airline for the most up-t0-date information.

Flying With Your Dog

Most airline policies for canine air travel is divided into two parts.

1. Pets (and cages) that weigh 20 lbs. or less that fit under the seat back in front of you are allowed in the main cabin.

That’s the “good news.” The bad news? Fees range upwards of $150 per flight.

2. If you’re traveling with a larger pet, say the family Labrador, then you are out of luck. Larger pets are crated and placed with cargo underneath the plane.

It’s a toss-up whether the hold is well-maintained, properly ventilated, and heated.

ESAD Intl. does not recommend transporting animals in the cargo hold. Our concern is injury, loss of the dog, or even the death of the furry companion. The problem is so prevalent that the Department of Transportation has to keep a record of pet deaths via cargo hold transport.

So, what are the air travel options for those with a larger pet?

If you suffer from anxiety, depression, stress, PTSD or one of many other mental illnesses, then consider certifying your pet as an Emotional Support Animal (ESA). Not to be confused with a Service Animal, an ESA is a particular category of assistance animal. Recognized by Federal Law, an ESA is not considered a pet and may fly with you (for free) in cabin regardless of breed or size.

Emotional Support Animal Letters That Work.

Our clients typically aren’t the Groupon crowd, they’re seeking a premium product; they aren’t just “buying a letter from us,” they’re buying all that goes into the best emotional support animal products on the market.

So, why don’t we sell a $79 letter?

Qualify an Emotional Support Animal

Step #1 – Emotional Support Animal Laws Education

Recommended by a licensed mental health professional or medical doctor, an Emotional Support Animal is recommended for an individual suffering from an emotional disability. ESAs do not require any specialized training.

Step #2 – Secure an ESA letter from a licensed therapist

To secure the protection of Federal Law, a therapist must recommend (with a letter of recommendation) your pet as an ESA. If you do not have a therapist, we would be happy to assist you.

Step #3 – Inform the airlines you are traveling with an ESA

Here’s a crucial step. 48 hours before departure, make sure to call the airline, informing them you are traveling with an ESA.

Reread that last sentence, as it’s the most crucial passage in this story.

Give the airline two days warning, so they can adequately provide a reasonable accommodation — as required by law.

There are a few exceptions; if your ESA has a bad demeanor, or appears to be a harm to other passengers, airlines can deny your ESA access to the main cabin.

Step #4 – Prepare to fly with your ESA

Imagine the stress of being stuff under the seat for a few hours. So, make sure to exercise your furry companion at least one hour before the flight.

To avoid mid-flight toileting issues, avoid feeding your ESA the day of travel, and limit their water consumption.

At the very least, make sure to have a digital copy of your ESA ready on your smartphone. We do recommend having a hard copy on hand.

FAQ’s for Flying with an ESA

Q: Does my ESA have to ride in a crate or carrier?
A: No, your emotional support dog can sit on the floor in front of you or if permitted by the flight attendants, may ride on your lap.

Q: What ESA breeds are allowed?
A: Federal Law prevents an airline from restricting based on weight or breed. However, your ESA cannot cause a disturbance.

Q: Do I have to register my ESA?
A: Never, that’s a scam.

Q: Does my ESA have to wear a vest?
A: No. Web sites that suggest otherwise are scams.

An emotional support animal provides comfort to support a customer’s diagnosed mental or emotional disorder. Emotional support animals need not have specific training for that function. All must be trained to behave appropriately in a public setting. Acceptable ESAD Intl. emotional support animals are limited to dogs and cats.Your animal must behave appropriately in a public setting.

Essential ESA Documentation

Just provide an overview of your mental health history and we’ll setup an appointment with a local provider. Speak to them over a secure video or telephone call. Explain how the animal helps you. It’s that simple.

Our providers are licensed, reside, and practice in your state or province. Our entire process is 100% HIPAA and PIPEDA compliant, so your health care information is guarded using the best technology on the market.

Who qualifies

Airlines now require providers to certify the passenger is currently undergoing professional care for ongoing treatment regarding a mental health-related disability. A 30-minute talk-therapy session, which is included with your order, must be completed within 30 days of travel.

What’s Included

Your fee includes provider copay, clinical evaluation, approval recommendation, and:

  • Proprietary intake exam.
  • Video or telephone appointment with a licensed provider from your area.
  • Industry experts familiar with the laws and rules regulating emotional support animals.
  • 30-minute airline-mandated talk therapy session.
  • Emotional support animal travel letter.
  • Signed airline forms (up to two forms).
  • Fully HIPAA compliant telehealth experience.

One or two sessions

The assessment and 30-minute talk therapy can be completed in one session. Or, those booking future air travel can schedule two appointments — one for the appointment (to qualify) and another for the 30-minute talk therapy. Both appointments must be completed within 120 days of placing the order.

Get it done now, or get approved and gain a peace of mind.

Legal requirements

Per US and Canadian law, a client’s disability must also fall within the recognition of the DSM-V (Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders).

Additionally, the following items must be included in an ESA travel letter:

  • Confirming the client’s need for the emotional support animal during travel and at the final destination.
  • Client must currently be under the care of a licensed professional issuing the ESA letter.
  • Contain the provider’s licensure information.
  • On the provider’s letterhead.
  • Dated no later than six months from travel date.

About your payment

The fees listed are your only provider payments. There are no additional fees. We make use of best-in-class security tools and practices to maintain the highest level of security.

ESA Letters: Buyer’s Checklist.

Watch Out For Counterfeits.

The dangers of buying counterfeit emotional support animal letters aren’t always obvious. Counterfeiters don’t care about your well-being. They just want to make a profit.

Welcome to the era of fake ESA letters.

Everything You Need To Know.

We offer a short test to see if you might qualify for an emotional support animal. Or, in just three easy steps, you can qualify for a legitimate ESA letter.

Get started today!

Shop Now