An ESA letter must be more than enough to allow you to board to any flight in the United States of America. Americans are now using pet therapy to treat mental illness as it has no side-effects and doesn't interfere with any other type of medication.
Studies prove that people suffering from mental conditions find comfort when traveling with their pets. For this very reason, the Air Carrier Access Act (ACAA) has been set in place to safeguard the interests of ESA owners.
Having a legit ESA letter isn’t the only thing that provides for hassle-free flying with your pet. Below is a checklist of all the things you must keep in mind, other than an Emotional Support Animal letter when traveling with your pooch the next time.
A Gentle Heads Up
Major airlines in the USA like Delta Airlines and AA (American Airlines) require prior notice if you are planning to fly with your ESA. Both airlines ask for an intimation about your Emotional Support Animal, 48 hours preceding to your flight. You can check detailed guidelines of all major American Airlines here.
Also, unless it is the last hour/minute booking, it is always nice to give your airlines a heads up, for the service provider and for your pet too.
More time they will get to prepare, better the arrangements (seat, space for a pet, etc.) will be provided.
An ESA Letter Isn't The Only Document You Need
With all the recent fuss about ESAs on flights, biting and making other passengers uncomfortable, there are a few things you need to be careful of. Having proper documentation that supports the ownership and use of your pet as an emotional support animal can be immensely helpful.
A.) ESA Letter:
Most important and above all is your ESA letter from an authorized doctor. This will serve an official certificate, explaining how and why you need to keep your ESA with you. You can easily apply for an emotional support animal letter online.
B.) Vet’s Certificate:
Although there is no need to obtain a training certificate for your pet, major airlines are now asking passengers with ESAs to submit a veterinary certification. VC will assure the airline company a certificate that states that your ESA is vaccinated and in good health.
C.) Self Confirmation:
In the end, a self-confirmation statement is required where you affirm in writing that your animal will not create any problem for co-passengers.
Will the Cabin Temperature be Right For Your ESA?
If you own a pet then you know well that animals don't have the same body temperature, some are prone to colder environments while others love the hot weather. So if you are planning to fly with your pet anytime soon, make sure to consult your vet if they can adapt to the flight and destination temperatures. The cabin air pressure may also play a big role in how your ESA behaves on a flight. If such a situation triggers an anxiety attack, it's best to take a road trip with your pooch.
Who likes to pack, right?
But, it is a necessary evil we all have to entertain. The trick here is that we can be lenient while packing for ourselves, but not while doing the same for our ESA.
It is already hard enough for an animal that you are taking it to another alien land. And so you cannot afford to leave out their favorite toy or comforter to help during the journey. Pet carriers are always an option, but they can cause more anxiety for your pet rather than controlling it. Good news for ESA letter holders is that the Air Carrier Access Act allows owners to keep their ESAs in their lap or next to their feet.
This way, your pet won't be a tough cookie to crack. Keeping some treats handy is always a good idea. Maintain a physical touch with your ESA as long as possible. Make sure you don't leave them alone to go to the bathroom or do anything that causes anxiety or excitement. It is always a win-win situation if you have a good bonding with your pet.
Wrapping it All Up
So, these were a few points you must keep in mind before taking your Emotional Support Animal onto a flight. All these things are needed, still the most important remains your ESA letter. Just remember, not a single airline is going to let your board a flight without an emotional support animal letter and the above-mentioned documents. Begin holiday planning with your pet by getting a doctor's recommendation for your pet today!