Flying with an ESA


The bottom line is that it’s a breeze for you to fly the friendly skies with your emotional support animal (ESA), as long as you have your dogs in a row. By that we mean that you’ll need the following for clear sailing, based on the Air Carrier Access Act and recommendations of all USA-based airline companies:

  • Ability to explain that your animal is an emotional support animal, not a working service dog, to the airline and/or airport personnel.
  • Identifying patches on your animal (or its cage, if it’s kept in one)
  • An attached photo ID card identifying your animal as a service or ESA (from a legitimate company like United States Service Animal Registrar)
  • A certification document from a legitimate registry company (such as United States Service Animal Registrar)
  • A letter from your therapist, psychiatrist, or other licensed mental health professional that prescribes or endorses you to have or obtain an ESA to ameliorate the symptoms of your emotional, psychiatric, or mental disability. If your therapist is unwilling to write a qualifying letter of prescription for you to obtain an Emotional Support Animal, or if you don’t currently have therapist, click here to obtain a letter of prescription from a licensed mental health professional.

The Air Carrier Access Act allows for mentally or emotionally impaired persons to be accompanied on flights by an emotional support animal on the condition that the correct documentation, including a letter from your physician or mental health professional verifying that the emotional support animal would provide some degree of comfort, is provided. That means that if you have supporting documentation from a licensed mental health professional, your emotional support animal will be able to accompany you on an airplane.

When you have an official and documented emotional support animal, the airlines are NOT allowed to charge you additional fees when your support animal accompanies you.

Click here to read about the Air Carrier Access Act of 1986.

Click here for a comprehensive list of Airline companies and telephone numbers.