Emotional Support Animals

How to Navigate the New Service Animal Flight Rules

The landscape for those with emotional support animals is changing and keeping up with latest news and restrictions can be stressful but it is very important to do so. Recently, the U.S. Department of Transportation announced a new rule giving the option to the airline whether to recognize emotional support animals or not. Even though some airlines might not be accepting ESA’s on flights, there are some that will accommodate your emotional support animal free of charge with ESA documentation.  United Support Animals is the nations leading ESA registration Agency and can assist you with the ESA process for air travel.

Note that the Department of Transportation still considers a service animal (which is defined as a dog that is trained to do certain tasks which benefit an individual) permissible to fly in the cabin of the airplane with you and the airline can not charge you any pet fees for this. This includes psychiatric service dogs (PSD) who are trained to help those with PTSD, anxiety or other disabilities.  If you have an ESA Letter and are in need to flying on airline that no longer permits ESAs, contact us, we can assist you with understanding your rights and with more details on the PSD designation which will work for many.

For registered service dogs, owners must fill out necessary paperwork 48 hours in advance and airlines limit each individual to two service animals. Those with service animals may also be required to show registration paperwork at the departure gate including a therapist letter, airline form signed by a therapist and DOT service animal form.

For many, this is stressful news to receive, and can produce a wide array of emotions. Anger, sadness, anxiety, and frustration can be overwhelming for those will disabilities and mental illness who need their ESAs by their side. All of these emotions are valid and understandable.

However, United Support Animals is now offering ESA & PSD letters that can be used for both housing and travel and will be more widely accepted while airlines are making these changes. If you are in for a renewal, our customer service will be able to help you with the appropriate letter that will help accommodate you and your pet with your travels.  As always double check all the rules and make sure you and your ESA follow them in order to have a hassle-free flight.

The changing flight rules are not the only thing you and your ESA need to pay attention to. It is important to make sure you renew your ESA letter of certification at least once a year to ensure you are allowed housing for your ESA. Renewing your ESA letter of certification is a simple process and can be done at United Support Animals. At the time of renewal make sure to mention whether you need housing or travel as there are now different options available so you and your furry one can travel smoothly!