If you’re wondering if you can fly with a dog in cabin, the answer depends on whether or not your dog is an emotional support dog. Federal regulations protect pet owners suffering from mental health conditions such as stress, anxiety, depression or PTSD. These laws allow you to bring a dog on a plane, provided it is a legitimate emotional support animal. If you want to fly with your dog in the cabin, outside of a carrier and without extra fees, all of this is possible and legal with an emotional support letter for your pet. If you wish to fly with your dog, your dog must be well-behaved. Generally speaking, airlines can ask patients for their recommendation letter.
The law that affords Emotional Support Dogs and their owners these special access is the Air Carrier Access Act. American carriers and all foreign carriers flying into and out of the US cannot discriminate and must accommodate a mental or physical need for an assistance animal for those with respective disabilities.
If your dog is a legal emotional Support Dog, you can bring a dog on a plane for all domestic flights and all flights flying into and out of the US.
If you are flying with your support dog, you cannot be seated in the exit row.
Your ESA cannot pose a harm or disturbance to your fellow passengers.
You need to contact your airline at least 48 hours prior to your flight to inform then you are traveling with an emotional support dog
You must also contact your airline as soon as possible and at least 48 hours in advance and inform them you are taking your emotional support dog on the plane.
An Emotional Support Dog (ESD) is a type of Assistance Animal that assists their owners with mental disabilities stress, PTSD, anxiety, etc. Any animal that provides their owners with assistance for their disabilities can qualify as an emotional support animal. Dogs are the most common animal that patients prefer to fly with on a plane. ESAs should not be confused with Service Dogs or Therapy Animals, as they have different rights and privileges. They are not service dog and do not need to perform any other tasks. Although an emotional support animal does not require special training, they still need to be well behaved and cannot be a harm to others. Airlines can deny privileges to ESAs that are not well behaved.
All airline companies will require you to produce a letter from a licensed therapist or medical physician that prescribes an ESA for an emotional disability. Some airlines will also require your therapist or physician to complete a short form that verifies your emotional disability. At MyESADoctor, we make it our mission to help those in need reduce suffering by connecting them with our certified physicians. We can write you a legal emotional support animal letter. You can pre-qualify online easily here and speak to a doctor today.
Although it’s not required by law, airlines prefer that you carry identifying ESA patches, an ESA vest on your animal and a service-type leash. We make the process easy by offering a complete ESA package with an ESA vest, leash and collar. We also an attached photo ID card identifying your animal as an emotional support animal. You can also find these items in our ESA Store.
Some airlines have limitations on the species of animals they allow in the cabin of their aircraft, but you can always travel with a dog on a plane.
All you need to do is present the emotional support animal letter to the ticketing agent, at the same time you present your photo ID and passports, etc.
As long as your letter is legitimate and current within 1 year, the airline must allow you to bring your dog on the plane unless it seriously pose risk to other passengers.
While we ultimately have no control over what a particular airline or ticket agent may do, the law requires the airline to accept any valid Emotional Support Animal letter and allow your pet to travel with you at no additional cost.
If any airline denies your request for flying with your dog that is a legitimate ESA, you can ask to speak to a Customer Resolution Official, also known as a CRO. Every airline has a CRO available to handle all disputes related to disabilities, which covers emotional support animals. In practice, they will resolve these disputes generally in the passenger’s favor unless the situation is extreme.
As a practical matter we recommends that you do not attempt travelling with a dog on the plane that does not easily fit under the seat in front of you without first advising the airline at least 48 hours in advance of your flight and making certain that a seating accommodation will be available for a larger ESA.
- Generally speaking an airline will allow your dog to sit on your lap. If your dog wont fit on your lap, then they will need to sit on the floor beneath your sit.
- If your ESA can safely sit in your lap the cabin attendant will generally allow you to place them there. In the event that they determine that it would not be safe to have the ESA sit in your lap, they will ask you to have the ESA sit on the floor below your seat. If your ESA is too large for the first two options, the airline must make reasonable effort to accommodate you by finding an open seat or finding accommodation on another flight. They are unable to charge additional fees for this service.
- In the next FAQ we cover flying with a large dog in cabin.
For large emotional support dogs that cannot fit under the eat, the airline still must make every reasonable effort to find a seat for the pet. If there is no seat available, they may work with you to find a later flight. They can also work with you to fly your pet in cargo but cannot charge fees.