Traveling with Emotional Support Animals

Traveling can be stressful, even seasoned flyers get frazzles during long TSA lines and delayed flights. Emotional support animals can help reduce the stress and anxiety that comes with traveling, especially air travel. Whether your a seasoned ESA traveler or it’s your first time taking your ESA on a trip, here are some tips to make traveling with your ESA a breeze.

1. Have your ESA letter ready

Your ESA letter is incredibly important for travel. Airlines typically want a digital copy of your letter as well as a physical copy when you check-in and board.  Your ESA letter must be up-to-date and have any additional paperwork the airline requests.

2. Contact the Airline in Advance

Most airlines ask for at least 48 hours notice when traveling with an ESA.

3. Keep Up with Changing Airline Policies

Airlines have frequently been changing their policies regarding types of ESAs accepted and documentation required.

4. Exercise your ESA beforehand

A tired pet is a happy pet.  Dogs especially will benefit from exercising and getting their energy out before a long flight.

5. Make sure your ESA uses the bathroom before the flight

Always let your ESA use the bathroom before arriving at the airport.  Some airports have pet relief stations if you have a layover or a flight delay.

6. Know Your Rights

The Air Carrier Access Act allows emotional support animals to accompany their owners in the aircraft of the airplane.  They can sit on their lap or on the floor in front of them, do not need to be in a cage/carrier, and are waived from the pet fee.

Emotional support animals improve the mental health of those with a disability.  Traveling with an ESA is easy when you have everything you need and are prepared.  Your ESA can even help reduce any travel-related stress.