Signed Travel Forms

Delta recently announced it would be enforcing tighter restrictions on support animals, citing an “84 percent increase in reported animal incidents since 2016.”

United and American have teamed up, and effective July 1, you have to leave your emotional support hedgehog, ferret, snake, goat, spider, and more at home.

Don’t blame us, blame the lady and her peacock, and countless of passengers who are skirting the stipulations and fees typically required of pets traveling the proper way (on average, $125).

Toss in the sale of unofficial service vests, collar tags, and fake certificates, and well, here we are — and as a result, individuals who genuinely require an emotional support animal — such as those suffering from debilitating anxiety provoked by flying— are taking it on the nose.

For now, the Department of Transportation has no uniform standards for emotional support animals.

Signed Travel Forms

If you’re traveling on the following airlines (see below), mental health care providers must now certify (a) they’re currently treating the passenger’s emotional disability and (b) the passenger is under their current and ongoing professional care.

And, depending on the airline, a specific signed form may also be required.

  • American Airlines
  • Delta Airlines
  • Southwest Airlines
  • United Airlines
  • Alaska Airlines
  • JetBlue Airways
  • Spirit Airlines

Additional fees apply when requesting a signed travel form.

Please note airlines are constantly updating their travel requirements, and the above list may not be accurately reflect any recent additions.

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Travel Letter FAQs

Can I bring my ESA to hotels?

The law does not require hotels, restaurants, trains, and buses to accept emotional support animals on their premises but you could call them ahead of your trip and ask about their policy.

Some establishments are open to receiving emotional support animals at their discretion.

I’m Canadian, can I get an ESA travel letter?

Yes, but please note the housing and airline ESA letters are written per US federal laws (FHA and ACAA). We cannot make any assurances that they would work for airline travel or housing in Canada.

Tell me about those signed airline forms.

If you’re traveling on the following airlines (see below), mental health care providers must now certify (a) they’re currently treating the passenger’s emotional disability and (b) the passenger is under their current and ongoing professional care.

And, depending on the airline, a specific signed form may also be required.

  • American Airlines
  • Delta Air Lines
  • Southwest Airlines
  • United Airlines
  • Alaska Airlines
  • JetBlue Airways
  • Spirit Airlines

What is ESAGuard?

With ESAGuard, if you’re ever denied a reasonable accommodation using our products, we’ll immediately refund all of your money. Certain restrictions apply. In particular, you must have purchased and completed therapeutic sessions (see above).

[Not all letters are created equal — visit our bad letter library and see for yourself.]

Are your letters legit?

Our letters are contain every element required by law and are fully compatible with the latest Federal and air carrier guidelines.

Can you notarize my letters and forms?

We are not lawyers, and the following should have not considered the legal advice.

As Federal Law does not require the signature on a reasonable accommodation form to be notarized, our therapists do not have the ability to notarize that document. Based on our understanding of Fair Housing Act requirements, the notarization is an “extra” hurdle that’s placed in front of an individual with a disability, and therefore not allowed.

Can your therapists sign a Medical Information Form (MEDIF)?

No, absolutely categorically not.

You may be asked for proof of your “fitness to fly” when requesting assistance. If you have a stable condition, there is generally no need to be cleared for travel.

There are usually two parts to the medical clearance process:

  1. You will be asked to provide information about your situation or condition and, for many passengers, this will be all you will need to complete.
  2. If the airline has concerns about how flying might impact your particular condition, it will ask you to complete a further form.

You may also be asked to provide medical proof at this stage, often a doctor’s note.

The ESADoggy Protocol does not allow any of our therapists to sign off on this form.

Are airlines enforcing stricter criteria for ESAs?

Airlines are now requiring passengers to be under the therapist’s care and treatment. That immediately rules out “assessments only.” Clients purchasing our travel letters and need a signed airline travel form are required to purchase a 30-minute session … in that session, a therapist will delve into the reason why the client/passenger needs the animal’s assistance. In that limited session, the therapist is not trying to solve the passenger’s trouble with Mom, their struggle with substance abuse, etc. Our protocol is to stay on the task at hand, and that’s focusing on the necessity of the assistance animal.

Airline verification, which has been increasing, requires the client/passenger to provide written HIPAA-waiver allowing our therapist to discuss PHI with a third-party.

Will my contact information be included in the letters I would fill out?

Your licensure is listed on all letters.

Can two dogs travel with me?

Maybe.

Although we can’t guarantee that all airlines will allow two or more ESAs per handler without exception, it is common practice for them to allow two small animals to fly in the cabin of the aircraft with their disabled handler. It’s a good idea to consult with the airline you’ll be using to let them know you’ll be traveling with two ESAs and want to make sure there will be no problems.

That being said, because of the “peacock on the airplane,” airlines are much more stringent.

And so are we.

Do you guarantee all domestic airlines and property managers will accept your treatment recommendation letter?

No, unfortunately not.

The Fair Housing Amendments Act of 1988 requires property managers and landlords to make a reasonable accommodation (a change in the rules) to permit an emotionally disabled handler to keep an emotional support animal (ESA). That doesn’t mean they won’t inadvertently or intentionally break the law and deny a disabled person the right to have an ESA, however.

Similarly, the Air Carrier Access Act 49 U.S.C. 41705 and Dept of Transportation 14 C.F.R. Part 382 requires airlines to allow a disabled person to be accompanied by their ESA in the cabin of the aircraft and not be charged a fee. Airline companies are allowed to require the disabled passenger to present a treatment recommendation letter from a licensed mental health professional to bring the ESA on board. Several airline companies have been sued and forced to change their practices over the years for arbitrarily electing to discriminate against disabled passengers.

Any company who makes an arbitrary decision without foundation and approval from the U.S. Justice Department is in violation of federal law, and we cannot guarantee that any public entity, airline company, or property manager will not willfully or inadvertently break federal law as it regards emotional support animals. Everyone knows that it is illegal to steal a car, but the car thief will continue stealing until he is caught and prosecuted.

If the airlines or property manager calls your office to verify the letter and confirm that the therapist is appropriately licensed, do you answer those calls?

No.

Unless there’s a signed HIPAA waiver allowing discussions with a third-party, we’ll never share your information with anyone.

What’s the duration of my ESA Letter?

They’re good for one calendar year. Annual updates are provided at a discount rate.

Will your ESA letter allow my animal to fly with me?

Traveling with your ESA is one of the greatest benefits of our ESA letter; however, there are a few things to keep in mind. Your pet must be well-behaved and not be unruly. We recommend calling your airline before takeoff and let them know an ESA will be accompanying you.