Flying with Emotional Support Animals - Rules are changing

Flying with Emotional Support Animals - Rules are changing

Posted by Admin on on 4th Oct 2018

A lot has been written about flying with emotional support animals (ESAs). The Department of Transportation has changed the Airline Carrier Access Act and has redefined an assistance animal as dogs only who are trained to perform specific tasks for disabled passengers. 

The problems arose because this legislation did not specify the type of animal that can be classified as an assistance animal. Because of this, owners of turkeys, livestock, rodents, marsupials and other animals flew them in the cabin at no cost. At one time, the owner of a peacock was refused at check-in.

The airlines are saying enough is enough. It is unfortunate that many pet owners who obtain documentation online that certifies their pet as an ESA without being under the guidance of a licensed doctor made it difficult for those who suffer from mental and physical disorders which require the attention and affection of their pet. 

All US-based airlines have discontinued their support for emotional support animals and are requiring additional proof of training and medical need through the use of Department of Transportation forms. This change unfortunately affected those who are not truly in need.    Read more information about airline ESA policies here.

Know that airlines that are not based in the United States are not obligated to honor ESAs and most of them have discontinued honoring ESAs; however, some foreign-based airlines do if the flight originates or terminates in the United States directly. 

UPDATE: Clarifications have been published. Find them here