Airline Requirements for Traveling with an Emotional Support Dog

Airline Requirements for Traveling with an Emotional Support Dog

An ESA letter allows you to travel with your pet without incurring any additional costs or fees. However, certain airlines have additional compliance rules.

American Airlines

  • American Airlines requires an ESA Travel Letter issued by a licensed medical health professional within the past year containing the following details:
  • That you have a mental or emotional disability recognized in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders Fourth Edition (DSM IV)
  • That you need the emotional support or psychiatric service animal as an accommodation for air travel and/or for activity at your destination
  • That the individual providing the assessment is a licensed mental health professional or medical doctor, and you are under his or her professional care
  • The date and type of the mental health professional or medical doctor’s license and the state or other jurisdiction where it was issued

The documentation should be given to the airline at least two days before the scheduled flight or else the emotional support animal would have to be checked into a kennel in the compartment during the flight.

Delta Airlines

When booking your reservations with Delta Airlines, they recommend an early notification about traveling with your ESA.

Per the airline, “No animals are allowed to occupy seats designed for passengers.” Your ESA is expected to be well-behaved.

Delta Airlines will accept an electonic copy of your ESA letter. That ESA letter must contain the following:

  • Title, address, license number and jurisdiction (state/country it was issued), phone number, and signature of mental health professional.
  • The passenger has a mental health related disability recognized in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual – 4th Edition.
  • That the passenger needs the emotional support or psychiatric service animal as an accommodation for air travel and/or for activity at the passenger’s destination.
  • That the person listed in the letter is under the care of the assessing physician or mental health professional.

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Jet Blue

The letter must also not be over one year old from date of travel and it must include the traveler’s confirmation number for easy reference.

Your ESA letter for Jet Blue’s must be less than one year old from date of travel, contain the traveler’s confirmation number, and include:

  • The customer has a mental health-related disability.
  • The animal accompanying the customer is necessary to the customer’s mental health or treatment.
  • The number and type of animal(s)
  • The individual providing the assessment of the customer is a licensed mental health professional or physician and the customer is under his or her professional care.
  • The mental health professional’s or physician’s license number OR the type of license, the issue date and the state or other jurisdiction in which it was issued

Southwest Airlines

Travel with your ESA is not allowed to Jamaica, and your ESA letter must contain the following:

  • The passenger has a mental or emotional disability recognized in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders – Fourth Edition (DSM IV)
  • The passenger needs the emotional support or psychiatric service animal as an accommodation for air travel and/or for activity at the passenger’s destination
  • The individual providing the assessment is a licensed mental health professional, and the passenger is under his or her professional care
  • The date and type of the mental health professional’s or medical doctor’s license and the state or other jurisdiction in which it was issued.

United Airlines

United Airlines requires “an animal should sit at the customer’s feet without protruding into the aisles to comply with safety regulations. Customers may elect to use an approved in-cabin kennel for smaller animals. Exit row seating is prohibited.”

United Airlines request that travel documents and other arrangements be made at least 48-hours before to boarding.

Virgin America

Like most other airlines, Virgin America’s ESA letter requirements are standard — an ESA letter, not more than a year old, recommended an by a licensed medical professional, and include the following:

  • That the guest has a mental health-related disability; and
  • That having the animal accompany the guest is necessary for the guest’s mental health, treatment, or to assist the guest (with his or her disability); and
  • That the individual providing the assessment of the guest is a licensed mental health professional; and
  • That the guest is under the care of the individual providing the documentation.

Travel to Hawaii requires a health certificate, valid for at least 30 days from date of travel.

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