Airline Rules and Requirement to Fly With Emotional Support Animals

Publish Date: September 5th, 2020; Author: Darren M. Jorgenson.

Airlines ESA Letter for Emotional Support Animal

Emotional Support Animals (ESAs) have to turn out to be frequent flyers, and this calls for some regulations by the airlines for trouble-free travel of commuter with an ESA. In case you are planning to fly with an ESA, few policies, rules, and regulations are required to be followed by the commuter. A valid ESA letter recommended by a certified mental health professional and the details regarding the ESA with the confirmation of no risk to anyone is essential. With a Legitimate ESA Letter, the commuter will be allowed to travel in the airlines with an Emotional Support Animal, devoid of any additional fee or cost is permitted by airline carriers if you have an ESA Letter. Conversely, you need to fulfill several requirements.

Traveling with an ESA in Airlines

As per the airline guidelines, a valid ESA Letter must comprise of the following information for traveling with an ESA:

  1. The commuter has mental health associated issues or is suffering from mental illness.
  2. The ESA accompanying the commuter is essential to the mental health of the commuter.
  3. The number and category of animal(s).
  4. The individual providing the assessment of the patient is a licensed mental health professional or physician, and the patient is beneath the professional care of the physician.
  5. The mental health professional’s verified license number or the type of license.
  6. The letter must also not be over one year old from the date of travel

Before the submission of forms and documentation required for an ESA to travel with an individual, it is essential to get familiar with the airline rules and regulations that a commuter must fulfill.

Flying With Airlines Calls For The Following Criteria To Be Satisfied:

  • Airlines can confine ESAs to solitary per passenger.
  • ESA must be clean, calm, and well behaved.
  • Airlines can refuse the boarding of “unusual animals” such as snakes, other reptiles.
  • ESA must be adjusted under the seat or on the lap of the individual.
  • A Commuter will not offer any additional charges to the airlines for taking an ESA along.
  • An ESA is not allowed to sit in exit rows or passage.
  • Required forms for ESA must be submitted 48 hours before flying.

These are the basic and most common rules that are mandatory criteria to be satisfied by the commuter. As per the amendments made by the Department of Transportation issued a Notice Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) with the updated rules and regulations for the commuter to travel with an ESA. These amendments comprise of subsequent updated rules and regulations.

Looking to Apply for an ESA Letter for Your Pet

Get Started by following these Steps:

1. Start FIlling up the ESA Evaluation form with your details.

2. Get Evaluated by a Local ESA Doctor once the submission is complete.

3. Get Approved and Receive your Letter In Your Email.

Apply Now

Identification of ESAs as Pets

This states that Airlines cannot categorize an ESA as a service animal. Airlines are allowed to treat the Emotional Support Animals who are not trained to perform tasks as individual pets.

The revised definition of the term “Service Animal”

An animal is considered or defined as a Service Animal if the animal is trained and capable enough to perform the tasks individually for the benefit of an individual with some disability such as physical disability, mental illness or any other.

Species Restriction

As per the updated rule of the Department, airlines would only be allowed to accommodate dogs and cats as emotional support animals. It also states that airlines are not required to accommodate other ESA such as snakes, alligators, etc.

Check-in requirements

Commuters with some disabilities that are traveling with an ESA or service animal must check-in an hour before the general check-in time.

Restriction on the number of service animals per passenger

The Department has proposed that the airlines can accept up to two ESAs per commuter.

Limit on the size of an ESA and SA

The Department proposes to allow airlines to limit service animals and Emotional Support Animals based on whether the animal can fit onto the lap or within the foot space of the handler.

Essential control of animal

Airlines are permitted to ask for the control of ESA by the handler or must be harnessed or leashed.

Analysis of potential threat

This states that airlines are allowed to refuse an ESA if the ESA poses a risk to the safety or health of other commuters.

Breed Restrictions

This rule states that the airlines are not allowed to refuse to take ESA along on flight based on the breed discrimination.

Before boarding an ESA, a commuter must fill and submit three additional forms.

  • Medical / Mental Health Professional Form: A medical form comprised of the medical state of the individual and confirmation that an ESA is a necessity of commuter.
  • Veterinary Health Form: A veterinary health form must include the vaccination record of an ESA with current vaccination information. The veterinary form must be filled and signed by a veterinarian and comprised of the following details considered as essential.
    Emotional Support Animal type.
    Emotional Support Animal breed.
    Emotional Support Animal weight, in case it is more than 20 pounds.
    Vaccination Information.
  • Confirmation of Animal Behavior Form: A form that indicates that the ESA poses a good and calm behavior.

The regulations and forms mentioned above are required to be followed by every airline. Talking about the specific one, it generally gets a bit confusing that which one is more comfortable and offering better services when traveling with an ESA. It calls for referring to the procedure, rules, and regulations of every airline. But here we have performed comprehensive research on the same so that you do not require to refer to different sites.

Airlines You May Choose To Travel With Your Emotional Support Animal

1. Delta Airlines

Delta Airlines calls for an early notification by the commuter concerning to the traveling with an ESA. Along with the general regulations, Delta Airlines has summed up a list of rules that are required to be followed and the list of forms needs to be submitted before boarding.

ESA Certification For Dog Near Me

Traveling with an ESA on Delta Airlines

  • Solitary ESA per passenger.
  • The commuter must adjust ESA in their footprint of the seat.
  • ESA must settle on the lap of the commuter or floor.
  • ESAs are not allowed to settle on exit rows.

Delta Airlines ask for three additional forms.

  • Medical Health Professional Form
  • Veterinary Health Form
  • Authentication of Animal Training Form

2. Southwest Airlines

South West Airlines ask for a verified ESA Letter from the commuter, which is signed and examined by a licensed health professional.

ESA Certification For Dog Near Me

Traveling with an ESA on Southwest Airlines

  • The ESA must be a dog or cat.
  • Solitary ESA per commuter.
  • ESA must either be on a leash or in a kennel.
  • ESA must be clean, calm, and well behaved
  • ESA is not allowed to sit on emergency rows.

Southwest Airlines ESA Forms

Southwest airlines do not ask for any additional forms.

3. American Airlines

American Airlines ask for an ESA letter from a licensed health professional and calls for some additional forms to allow the commuter to travel with an ESA based on the medical state of the commuter.

ESA Certification For Dog Near Me

Traveling with an ESA on American Airlines

  • Solitary ESA per commuter.
  • ESA must be clean, calm, and well behaved.
  • American Airlines only accepts the subsequent ESAs. such as Emotional Support Dogs, Emotional Support Cats, and Miniature Horses.
  • ESA must be adjusted at your feet space or on your lap.
  • ESAs cannot sit on exit rows.

American Airline asks for three additional Forms

  • Medical Health Professional Form
  • Veterinary Health Form
  • Confirmation of Animal Behavior Form

4. United Airlines

Traveling with an ESA on United Airlines calls for the additional documents along with an ESA letter provided by a licensed medical professional.

ESA Certification For Dog Near Me

Traveling with an ESA on United Airlines

  • The commuter must adjust their ESA on the floor under the seat.
  • ESAs are not allowed to sit on exit lanes.
  • ESA must be clean, calm, and well behaved.

American Airline asks for three additional Forms

  • Medical Health Professional Form
  • Veterinary Health Form
  • Commuter verification of legal responsibility and Emotional Support.

How to submit your ESA Forms?

You must submit your ESA forms along with your ESA letter to Airlines at least 48 hours before the take-off. You can opt to submit the documents by any preferred mode of communication of your choice.

  • You can submit your Airlines ESA forms by email.
  • You can submit your ESA forms through Fax.
  • You can submit the ESA forms manually as well.

Forms for Flights More Than 8 Hours

If your flight is more than 8 hours, Airlines may ask for an additional document that is known as the Animal Sanitation Form for your ESA.

If you are also planning to travel and do not have the adequate knowledge of rules and regulations concerning the forms required to be deposited, then Fast ESA is there to help you with everything you may need before the start of your journey.

About Post Author

Darren M. Jorgensen has a fondness for all animals, though dogs especially, have a huge home in his heart. He enjoys quilting, making handcrafted soap and bodyworks and anything that produces practical products. Jorgensen lives with his own service dog who doubles as an Emotional Support Animal. He gets it.


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