It's a breeze for you to fly the friendly skies with your Emotional Support Animal (ESA)! You'll just need a few things to enjoy smooth sailing, based on the Air Carrier Access Act and the Department of Transportations (DOTs) final rule.
The Air Carrier Access Act is a federal law that used to require airline companies to allow emotionally impaired persons to be accompanied in the cabin of the aircraft with an emotional support animal and not be charged a fee. After the posting of DOTs final rule that allows the airlines to recognize emotional support animals as “pet” (and charge their customers), Southwest Airlines is the only remaining airline that continues to recognize and accept ESAs at no additional cost to their customers. Continue flying Southwest Airlines with your ESA today!
We have a few important links on this page that will point you to everything you might possibly need to know to make flying with your emotional support animal easy and stress-free, no matter your destination! Don't miss them!
Here's What You Need to Know
All airline companies used to require you to produce a letter from a licensed therapist or medical physician that prescribes an ESA for an emotional disability. However, with DOTs final rule, only Southwest Airlines continue to recognize and accept emotional support animals on their flights provided you have a legitimate emotional support animal letter.
Although it's not required by law, airlines are encouraged to look for identifying markers such as ESA patches, vests, and/or leashes to help to identify a legitimate emotional support animal.
The same applies to an attached photo ID card identifying your animal as an emotional support animal (from a credible agency like National Service Animal Registry).
Airlines not only strongly recommend that you have an ID card, a service vest and/or ESA patches, but our customers report that all USA-based airlines now recognize and often recommend using National Service Animal Registry (NSARCO).* When you have an official and documented ESA, Southwest Airlines will not charge you additional fees when your animal accompanies you in the cabin of the aircraft.
If you have the above items and your answers ready, it will be smooth sailing!
Click here for what to expect at the airport and how to get through it without a hassle.
Click here for a comprehensive list of individual airline company requirements for emotional support animals, their websites, and telephone numbers.
Click here to read about the federal laws that apply to flying with your emotional support animal - the Air Carrier Access Act of 1986.
Click here to learn about travel to Hawaii with an emotional support animal.