Traveling with your emotional support animal without any additional fee or costs is allowed by airline carriers if you have an ESA letter. However, you have to comply with some requirements.
All airlines require your ESA to be well behaved in public and calm on the plane.
Your assessment order includes:
- Assessment by licensed mental health professional who will qualify/issue emotional support animal letter
- Mental health professional will be located in your state/area
- You can breathe easier, knowing our HIPAA-compliant service safely collects client data
- Letters are good for one year
- Discounted annual renewals
- Letter securely delivered electronically and via US mail
- Only one ESA dog or cat will qualify (no peacocks, turkeys, or other such nonsense)
- Instructional guides
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:
- 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.
- 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?
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?
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.
Assistance Animal FAQs
Do I need to register my emotional support animal?
There is NO REGISTRATION for either a service animal or an ESA. That’s all nonsense — sold by Internet vendors looking to take advantage of those in need.
Does my emotional support animal need to be spayed or neutered?
No, there are no requirements for an emotional support dog to be spayed or neutered.
Does an emotional support animal (ESA) require to wear any identifying clothes or a harness?
Federal law does not require Service Dogs or Emotional Support Animals to wear any type of clothing or harnesses. However, we strongly encourage this since harnesses, leashes, patches and identifying items cut down on the hassles and unnecessary explanations when in public. We have found that these products drastically save time and frustration.
Does my ESA need a vest?
A person who is assisted by an emotional support animal must have a correctly formatted letter from a licensed mental health professional. That’s all. The ESA letter must state that the animal’s handler has an emotional or psychological disability identified in the DSM V and that the animal helps mitigate specific symptoms of the handler’s disability. The letter is all that is required.
To reiterate, however, an ESA vest made of a brightly-colored fabric, such as red or orange will help identify your pet as an emotional support animal.
It is NOT required.
Do emotional support animals need special training similar to a service dog?
Emotional support animals do not require specialized training. However, they do require a therapist letter in order to be considered valid. Service Dogs require specialized training because they perform a specific task for their owner such as acting as a seeing eye dog or calming someone down who has PTSD.
What animals will you qualify?
ESADoggy makes no designation or recommendation as to the specific animal an individual can or should have as their emotional support animal, no representation as to a particular animal’s fitness to function as an emotional support animal, and assumes no liability for the actions of the emotional support animal or its handler under any circumstance.
That being said, we will only consider dogs and cats.
What about my ESA goat?
We only prescribe dogs and cats as emotional support animals.
Can you answer questions about Service Animals?
Can I get three assistance animals?
ESADoggy does not assess/approve more than two emotional support animals. Our decision is based upon the current environment — aka the peacock in the airplane.
To be prescribed three or more ESAs would likely require multiple sessions, whereby your therapist could, in face-to-face sessions, understand and develop your disability-related need for each assistance animal — this is a time-consuming endeavor that is outside of the cost and scope of our current product offerings.
Do you inform clients about an ESA’s rights?
As previously mentioned, we try to educate our clients/potential clients regarding the legal rights on an ESA. All too common though, folks try to extend the rules, make an ESA into a service animal.
We don’t perpetuate that silliness, but we can’t stop individuals.
On a side note, we’re pertpetually “mystery shopped” by service animal activists who want to see if we’re bending the rules.
Who provides the animals?
Some clients come with animals … some get to go to the pound/rescue, etc.
That’s really not “my worry,” as I’m not in the animal biz per se. We’re in the mental health field.
Can I have more than one Emotional Support Animal?
Maybe. That’s up to the discretion of the therapist prescribing your letter. Handled on a case-by-case basis, there needs to be a valid reason to prescribe multiple ESAs.
Each emotional support animal must ameliorate a symptom associated with a mental disability.
Does my animal need any specific training?
The short answer is no.
There are no unique training requirements for an ESA, however, it’s important for your animal to be well-behaved. You will be held responsible for any property damage or harm to others.
What is the difference between a service animal and an ESA?
There are three general categories of animals who may be considered under these regulations:
Emotional support animals: These animals are not always explicitly trained, but serve as a comfort to individuals with a documented mental health condition. There is no restriction for the breed of emotional support animals because all domesticated animals can serve as ESAs.
An ESA is not like a Service Animal. SAs have access into the public space. An ESA only penetrates no-pets-allowed housing and on airline flights. A Service Animal performs a task, is often highly trained and penetrates the public space.
Therapy animals: These animals are usually evaluated and registered by an agency and provide emotional support to individuals who need them. They are often used in hospitals, nursing homes and in school reading programs such as Reading Educational Assistance Dogs.
Service animals: These animals have been specially trained to perform tasks their owner can’t do on his or her own. Guide dogs for the blind are perhaps the most well known in this category. Service animals are not required by law to wear vests or have any form of identification.
Eighteen states, including Virginia, Colorado and California, have laws that criminalize fraudulent representation of a service animal. These violations are usually misdemeanors, but repeated violations can result in jail time. West Virginia is not one of the 18 states, however, businesses could pursue a trespassing charge if a second incident occurs. Play it safe with an ESA!
Do you accept medical insurance?
Unfortunately, due to the problematic nature of being reimbursed by insurance companies for emotional support animal exams, we regret that we are not able to accept medical insurance at this time. In light of this, we have tried our best to make the approval process as accessible and as affordable as possible.
What forms of payment do you accept?
We accept the following payment types: PayPal, Discover, Visa, MasterCard, and American Express.
How long does it take?
Typically, this entire process takes five to ten business days to complete. With our expedited service, we typically fulfill your order within three business days (not counting weekends, and holidays).
Five to ten days? Why does it take so long?
We’re connecting you with an actual practicing licensed mental health care professional. Sometimes, it takes time for you to get on their schedule.
Ever try to see your family doctor the same afternoon?
If you’re looking for an instant letter, make sure to review our blacklist!
Cancellation and Refund Policy
Click here for more information about our cancellation and refund policy.
What is your cancellation and refund policy?
Please review our cancellation and refund policy to learn more.
If I pay for a treatment recommendation letter for an ESA, am I guaranteed to qualify for it?
Ordering our services does not guarantee you’ll be qualified as disabled.
There really isn’t anything typical when it comes to the emotional/psychological status of a person; every person’s situation, ability to cope, and life experience is different. In addition, to qualify, a licensed therapist must assess your disability and disability-related need for an assistance animal.